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Ovum analysts on what to expect at MWC 2012

MWC 2012 set to begin on Monday

With Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 set to kick off in Barcelona on Monday, analyst firm Ovum has collated the views of some of its analysts to reveal what they expect to see at this year’s event.

The progress made by operators in responding to the increase in mobile data traffic will be interesting to note at this year’s event, according to Steven Hartley, analyst for telco strategy. He said that operators are beginning to set aside old assumptions, prejudices, and ways of doing business.

“While there is no doubt that we will hear a lot about quality of service in relation to monetising data traffic, this will be less antagonistic than in the past.”

Hartley also expects to see more evidence of maturity and pragmatism from operators, and fewer demands that everyone must play by their rules.

“Operators’ growing realisation of their position in the ecosystem means that the watchwords at MWC will be “partnership” and “co-operation” as telcos look to minimise the impact that mobile data traffic growth will have on their profitability. Although there will be more LTE announcements, we do not expect LTE to be portrayed as the ultimate answer to operators’ problems. Instead, it will be one part of the wider solution.”

Daryl Schoolar, networks and infrastructure, believes wifi will be a major infrastructure theme at this year’s MWC.

“There have already been several product announcements prior to the conference, highlighted by Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio wifi introduction. However, the biggest wifi story at the event will be Ericsson’s major endorsement of the technology, which has been demonstrated by its recent acquisition of BelAir Networks.

“While wifi was once merely tolerated by the mobile community, this year’s event will fully cement the technology as an integral part of mobile operators’ infrastructure strategies.”

Emeka Obiodu, analyst for telco strategy, expects to see a host of new innovations being showcased at the event.

“Whether it is from the telcos themselves, the numerous vendors hoping to partner with telcos, or the over-the-top players that can afford to go it alone, we expect the conference to be awash with new product and service launches. We are particularly keen to see innovations that leverage the telcos’ core capabilities in other areas,” said Obiodu.

Meanwhile, Eden Zoller, consumer analyst, expects to see a slew of mobile payment-related announcements at this year’s event, spanning new services, devices, and partnerships.

“Hot spots will undoubtedly include near-field communications, which, due to increasing device support, is finally starting to look feasible after a number of false starts. Mobile wallets have increased in popularity over the past year, and MWC will see more activity in this increasingly competitive market as operators battle for prime position. We also expect to see innovation in services that add value to the core payment proposition, particularly mobile advertising, marketing, and social- and location-based applications.”

And according to Mark Giles, analyst for telco operations, customer experience management will be a major theme for many at this year’s conference.

“While the term is perhaps becoming over-used, this only serves to demonstrate just how much work is still required for telcos to meet their customers’ service expectations,” he said. “Beyond the usual OSS and BSS announcements, we expect to see significant activity around software tools that provide stakeholders across the telco, and even third parties, with better visibility, both into the internal workings of the business and into the wealth of customer data that is held therein.”

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