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Claire McMahon

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The Shifting Focus of Mobile World Congress

Exploring CSPs transition into the digital economy

Mobile World Congress, the telecoms industry event of the year, is fast approaching. A platform for companies throughout the chain to showcase their latest innovations, it's an indicator of where the market's moving - of how we (or our machines and devices) will be communicating with one-another in five years' (or shall we say 5 weeks?!) time and how CSPs will be making money out of it.

We in telecoms are fortunate to be working in an industry with such a rapid pace of development - it's hard to believe that only 20 years ago the world was abuzz with the talk of SMS! ‘Key-takeaways' from MWC in recent years have displayed a distinct shift in focus, with stand-space for traditional services diminishing in favour of the exploration of new verticals. Considering how technology has evolved over the last 12 months, and with 93% of CSPs believing there is value for them in partnering with OTTs[1], it seems this will be the year that CSPs cease experimenting with OTT strategies and seek to reinvent themselves as key players in the digital economy mainly through partnerships.

With revenues from traditional services in decline, the internet retail space offers lucrative opportunities. Moreover, the transition of CSPs from ‘traditional services' provider to more of an IT service provider will enable CSPs to add significant value to OTT partnerships. Concurrently, ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Ali Baba are now entering the telecom space - illustrating to CSPs the revenue potential in becoming more than just a dump-pipe.

However, in order for CSPs to realize their renewed visions, BSS/OSS providers who supply the heart of the operator's ‘machinery', must offer solutions that are scalable and have scope for collaborations with not only OTTs, but also those working in the non-telecom space (such as hospitals and car manufacturers) to compensate for the ever expanding digital ecosystem. Ultimately, these providers must make it easier for operators to work with; for collaborations to be effective and yet affordable for all parties involved.

The good news is that, such solutions are already in existence. For example, over 20 OTTs are currently converging or co-branding their digital services with China Telecom's communication products across its fixed, mobile and IPTV services. Sharing its network and back-office systems has enabled the operator to add significant value to OTT partnerships and monetize their assets to an extent not previously possible.

AsiaInfo expects MWC 2014 will see the launch of several product launches in this space, all seeking to fulfil the requirements listed above. Markets in their infancy, such as this, often witness the release of radical innovations at trade shows, surprising analysts and sales personnel alike - if you're interested in the release of game-changing technology at MWC this February ensure you pop-by the AsiaInfo-Linkage stand to see what we have to offer... (For more details about our stand and participation at MWC this year, please visit: http://www.asiainfo-linkage.com/MediaRoom/Events/MWC2014.aspx).


More Stories By Claire McMahon

Claire McMahon is the International Telecom Analyst at AsiaInfo-Linkage, the supplier of the world's most advanced software solutions and IT services to the telecommunications industry.