London, December 17, 2014. Increased market consolidation with carriers taking defensive actions against over the top (OTT) revenue leakage, increased variety in services and momentum in VoLTE can all be expected from operators in the New Year. These are some of the R Systems predictions for the mobile industry in 2015.
1. Mobile operators will continue their fixed-line mating dance
The telecoms market is being displaced by other industries and the threat of OTT providers has been looming for a few years now. But 2015 will see operators taking defensive actions to protect their revenues. Unlike for most telecoms operators, OTTs are not restricted by borders. This means OTTs can penetrate markets regardless of region – and restricted operators need to work harder to secure revenues. As BT is set to acquire EE, 2015 will see mobile operators continue to court fixed-line providers – and vice versa – to expand their bundles, increase customer loyalty and secure new revenue streams.
2. Future-proofing mobile networks
One of the major themes for 2014 was NFV and network virtualization. But it will be a couple of years before the industry will begin to even see trials. And widespread deployments will not be here until the next decade. However, the movement towards virtualization means that 2015 will be the year that operators begin to future-proof their networks. They will start to unify their offerings for pre-paid and post-paid plans and start moving towards more agile charging systems.
3. Using data for customer experience
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg famously said: In God we trust, everyone else bring data. That will ring true for carriers next year. In 2015 carriers will look to data to deliver a more personalized customer experience for their subscribers, and this innovation will be a key differentiator for some operators. As operators look to introduce plans, bundles and services for both consumers and enterprises, Big Data analytics will be a key area of revenue development.
4. Rise in innovative services
For years operators have sat on their traditional cash-cows like SMS and voice to bring in revenues. But as new services and OTT providers start taking larger and larger chunks out of the market, operators will begin to address this through new services, value-added bundles and tariffs to monetize areas that OTT providers cannot penetrate. As a result, existing infrastructure and PCRF systems will face the challenge of adapting to these new services. Flexibility will be key.
5. VoLTE and WiFi
2014 saw the deployment of VoLTE by mobile operators like T-Mobile US. But moving into 2015 we’ll begin to see some European deployments of the technology as well as cross-carrier deployments. We also expect there to be greater movement in Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi). Following on from the Wi-Fi trend, 2015 will be the year that Wi-Fi offloading becomes a must-have tool in mobile operators’ arsenals. As the pressure to provide high-quality internet access to subscribers rises, operators will use Wi-Fi offload as a way to ensure they can deliver the most reliable data.
“The next year is going to see a lot of change in the telecoms market, and in some respects it will be the year that determines their future success” said Raluca Rusu, CEO at R Systems. “The key theme for 2015 will be flexibility therefore operators will have to opt for open technologies that enable them to deploy new services that can work across several networks and countries extremely fast and easy. Rolling out LTE will help operators become more cost effective, especially with OPEX. Network virtualization and resource-sharing will secure more cost efficiencies for carriers. Of course the threat from OTTs will never subside – but they present opportunities as well as threats. Ultimately, next year operators will learn to cooperate more rather than compete, and build closer strategic alliances.”