Vision, networks and integration key for next-gen telcos: AT&T

A clear vision, tightly integrated solutions, a great customer experience and the assets to deliver it are key to success as a next-generation operator, according to AT&T Mobility’s chief executive.

Speaking during a keynote session at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai Wednesday, Glenn Lurie – president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations – shared his views about the key attributes of being a next-generation operator and how this could help telcos enable the level of connectivity that customers have come to expect.

Lurie said mobile customers nowadays have a whole set of different expectations, and require being connected 24x7.

“To be a next-generation provider, you have to have the vision, you have to understand the trends. You have to invest in the right assets – you have to be bold and courageous to make those investments … to deliver on the experience that your customers expect,” Lurie said. “If you’re going to be a next-generation provider, you must have the assets to support the services.”

He said video, mobile data and IoT are the key trends that are affecting the industry.

Lurie cited research forecasting that the number of users watching video on devices globally will double to 2 billion by 2021. Mobile data traffic is forecast to grow by 20 times to 2021, and there will be 75.4 billion connected things in 2025, he said.

Lurie stressed that network investment was crucial, saying that AT&T has spent $140 billion on networks in the last five years – more than any other company in the US.

“Our focus is on virtualization of our networks, taking our networks from hardware to software, taking our networks to cloud,” Lurie said. “Secondly, our focus is on spectrum.”

Meanwhile investments in innovation are also important for the company’s strategy. 

For instance, Lurie noted, AT&T has built six innovation centers across the globe and a studio focusing on connected cars. The firm’s $63 billion acquisition of DirectTV has also strengthened its media presence, he said.

With the vision and right assets in place, Lurie added, a next-generation operator must also able to deliver truly integrated solutions to its customers.

“This is about integration around the car, integration around the home, integration around our work, and arguably most importantly, integration around our cities,” he said.

According to Lurie, about eight million cars are now connected to AT&T’s mobile network. The operator has also launched a number of applications and services for smart cites and smart homes under its “Digital Life” portfolio.

About the author



5G and data center-friendly network architectures

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Rémy Pascal / Analysys Mason

The launch of 5G by South Korean operators serves as a first benchmark for other operators around the world