“Creating a better future” is the mantra for this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. From February 26th through March 1st, over 100,000 attendees are expected to descend upon the picturesque city for the premier wireless tradeshow. Their end-goal? To learn more about the latest in wireless devices, infrastructure, and services—and enjoy some great wine and paella (yum), while taking in the city’s surreal architecture and beautiful sculpture gardens.The show organizer, GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association), has divided the show into eight core themes to help attendees find the most relevant information to their areas of interest: The 4th Industrial Revolution (I guess I missed the last three), Future Services Providers, The Network, Digital Consumer, Tech In Society, Content and Media, Applied Artificial Intelligence, and Innovation. I want to dive a little deeper into two of these themes and highlight what I expect to hear more about at the show. Future Services Providers It’s no secret that MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) are struggling with an ever-changing industry and competitive landscape. To survive (and more importantly, thrive), they must find new ways to monetize network services and transform the very way they conduct business. OTT (Over the Top) content delivery and disparate messaging services such as WhatsApp and WeChat are piggybacking on network “dumb pipes,” and return zero revenue and margin to the carrier and operator bottom lines. On this note, at the show I’m expecting to see third-party enablement for services based on future 5G, as well as present LTE, Advanced LTE and Gigabit LTE. I believe unified communication and collaboration on the enterprise side and video streaming/content on the consumer side will be stand out use-case applications. I anticipate enterprise will be the more difficult segment to crack—I recently wrote an article about US carrier T-Mobile ’s struggles in that realm, which you can read here if interested.
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