February 24, 2016

Mobile World Madness

As mobile subscriber growth slows and mobile data grows, service providers are placing bets on their futures.

Our customers are changing. That is, after all, the reason Netcracker now has a new brand and corporate identity. We wanted to show the industry that we’ve listened to our customers and we’re changing alongside them.

Evidence of just how much things are changing for service providers is all around us here at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. Nearly every keynote address featuring a major network operator has reminded the audience of the scale and reach of mobile devices and services. The number of smartphone connections globally will increase by 2.6 billion by 2020, with roughly 90 percent of that growth coming from developing regions, according to the GSMA’s latest survey of mobile operators

At the same time, it is apparent that acquiring more mobile subscribers is no longer enough to ensure sustainability for operators. The GSMA study also revealed that the annual average growth rate for mobile subscriptions is forecasted to be just less than 2 percent for the period between 2015 and 2020. That’s less than half the rate of the previous five years. 

Meanwhile, the amount of mobile data being used is only growing by the day. 

“Most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now it’s quickly becoming videos,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his keynote address on Monday night. “I just think that we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.”

Likewise, Vodafone’s chief executive, Vittorio Colao, said that he expects six times more mobile data to be used in 2020 than what was used in 2015 on Vodafone’s networks worldwide.

After roaming the show floor, the sheer volume of virtual reality headsets, tablets and Wi-Fi-powered IoT devices for smart homes sends a not-so-subtle message.

“At the end of the day, the show this year is all about devices that do not connect to the cellular network. This is symptomatic of an industry that has realized that growth in smartphones has ground to a halt,” former Nomura Securities analyst Richard Windsor wrote in his blog on Tuesday.

The theme for the show, "Mobile is Everything,” cleverly calls out that service providers have a lot of important decisions on their plate. They can’t focus on, sell and support “everything.” They need to make strategic choices and make sure their networks and business processes are flexible enough to handle what's ahead.

To that end, Netcracker’s presence at the show is perfectly appropriate. We’re the strategic partner that service providers need to help them focus on the businesses they run now and enable the ones they want to be next. We have the expertise, the culture and the resources to help companies execute on the most important step that they will take...their next one.


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