These services will use the same core network capability as for Voice over LTE. However, operators are still trying to figure out how to launch VoLTE and VoWiFi and the extent to which they can be used to offer new services and, potentially, new revenue streams.
Security and identity
Security has been slowly but surely gaining ground as a theme at MWC even though consumers are much less willing to pay for it than desktop users.
However, the rise of enterprise mobility – and the risks that go with allowing consumers to install enterprise applications on their personal devices – means that security is very much on the agenda.
Identity is more of a consumer theme and operators believe that they can play a valuable role helping their customers to manage their personal data.
The Snowden affair and the alleged hacking of French SIM card manufacturer Gemalto’s systems have also served to increase general awareness around these issues.
Net neutrality rules that class broadband as a telecommunications service – thereby subjecting it to heavy regulation – were approved by the Federal Communications Commission on February 26.
The repercussions of the new rules have yet to be fully understood but Ovum believes that they could have profound implications for future telecoms operator strategy.
Many of the new networks, services, and business models being developed today, particularly in relation to SDN and NFV, involve the use of technologies that allow operators to treat some Internet packets differently from others.
The words “innovation” and “digital” will be used liberally at MWC and applied to a huge number of product and service launches. Unfortunately, however, the more they are used, the less impact they have.
“Enablement’ will be another popular term used in Barcelona this year, particularly with reference to telecoms operators. Ovum would like to see more specific examples of business models that generate meaningful revenues for operators rather than generic concepts.
Smart living will, perhaps, be the biggest overall consumer theme at MWC this year. It captures a huge range of product and service concepts – from metering to health monitoring and from wearables to smart washing machines.
Payments is yet another one of those new services which appears to be escaping the grasp of operators – with the exception of some emerging markets.
However, the disruption of the traditional payments businesses means that major opportunities still exist for technology companies.
When it comes to payments, smart living, IoT, and any number of new digital services, technology vendors that have traditionally sold to operators are increasingly aware that they need to find a role in new ecosystems.
They may not be able to play as central a role as they had hoped, but, by partnering with global rather than local firms (operators), the prizes may ultimately be larger.
By Mark Newman - Analyst, Ovum