Mobile World Congress 2015 welcomed a record number of visitors and exhibitors through its doors.
The event has morphed from a mobile industry congress to a broader ICT–TMT–mobility fair at which telecoms meets digital media, IT, and entertainment.
The extent to which the telecoms industry is part of this broader technology and entertainment landscape is a moot point.
With such a diverse collection of companies and individuals in attendance it is not easy to draw out dominant trends.
However, the composition of the exhibition itself – which companies were there and which chose not to attend – tells us something about the mobile telecoms industry.
For example, there was surprisingly little focus on services for the consumer market; cloud services, IoT, enterprise mobility, and ICT services more broadly were the biggest service categories.
TV and mobile video were largely conspicuous by their absence, and payments was arguably the most prominent consumer service category.
Relatively few major announcements were made during or before the event, although the US Federal Communication Commission’s ruling on net neutrality was a recurring theme.
It caused particular concern among those operators and technology companies that view deep packet inspection, policy, prioritization, and partnering as the best way for them to regain relevance in the consumer services markets.
We are at a tipping point in terms of the network and IT vendors that shape the telecoms technology landscape.
A number of the companies that came into existence during the mobile industry boom between 1990 and 2005 are now seeing their revenues flatline.
The CEO of one BSS vendor told Ovum that he had had a number of meetings with other vendors that were interested in selling their businesses to him.
The new industry players are grounded in software and offer their services via the cloud. Their core market is the enterprise business, but they see rich promise in the telecoms sector.
Telco capex has slowed dramatically over the last couple of years, and opex reduction has become an obsession for many. However, these cloud service vendors believe that the $400bn telco capex market is ripe for disruption.
Ovum’s five key takeaways and trends from MWC 2015 are listed below. They are, of course, restricted by the fragmented nature of the event and the limited number of meetings and conference sessions it was possible to attend over an intense four-day period.
The focus of mobile operators – in terms of opportunities for growth – is shifting to the enterprise market
Two to three years ago telecoms operators started to talk about opportunities to expand into adjacent markets and to develop digital services.