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For Mobile Carriers, Five Key Trends Promise Pain and Prospects

Mobile carriers face no shortage of pain points as new data streams create unprecedented and staggering amounts of information. But it is important to remember that pain points often arrive in tandem with new opportunities.

From my perspective, observing the driving forces shaping the mobile industry, five key trends stand out. All are laced with challenges and opportunities. And each represents a core element in an interconnected system that is pushing the entire marketplace forward, while demanding innovative breakthroughs in monetizing and optimizing data.

On February 25-28, I will be attending Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. This year’s event is expected to be the largest ever, with 1,500 exhibitors. I expect these five trends will be major sources of discussion:

  1. Video. We are already seeing the true inflection point in video where it becomes mainstream on multiple devices. The mobile and nomadic consumption of video—whether served by mobile carriers or localized Wi-Fi—is popular, commonplace, and growing rapidly. But video will completely reshape the demand side of the industry, creating enormous amounts of data. It threatens to load and clog networks, and it will demand new models for monetization.
  2. Accelerating connections. As the Read More »

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Join Cisco at Mobile World Congress 2013

Last week, CES kicked off an exciting 2013 for the industry and Cisco.  With just a select few of our innovations modeled in our video and SP/ mobile demos our customers, partners and press expressed great interest in our approach to helping carriers monetize these connected experiences.  During the show, we were elated by MGM Resorts International’s announcement of their use of Cisco’s location-based mobile analytics to both monetize and improve hotel guest experiences at the Bellagio and other hotels across Las Vegas.  We had a number of great discussions on how our SP Wi-Fi can be used as a Business Innovation Platform and how Data-in-Motion has become the new imperative for true subscriber insights.  And, we were thrilled that the Videoscape demos were so popular that they were overbooked throughout the week.

At Cisco, Read More »

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It’s a Small (Cell) World After All

To borrow from Walt Disney, it’s a small (cell) world after all . . .

Not only was this Cisco’s message at Mobile World Congress 2012 but, in the weeks since, the mobile industry has been singing the same refrain.  The media, analysts, our partners, customers and competitors have enthusiastically joined the chorus, acknowledging that the post-macrocell era is upon us.

As Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers has said, “radio type no longer defines the network architecture — and small cells are critical in delivering the mobile Internet.” To be competitive, mobile operators must support heterogeneous network access including licensed and unlicensed (Wi-Fi) radio, have an intelligent core and offer cloud-based services that deliver more applications faster in a scalable, flexible and resilient environment.

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Policy Implications in the Rise of Mobile Broadband and Heterogenous Network Access

Over the last few months, a growing consensus has emerged pointing to a dramatic change in the way people access the Internet.

In 2011, for the first time ever, worldwide annual demand for smart phones surpassed that of PCs, laptops and tablets combined. Then last month our Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) Update reported that global mobile data traffic is growing even faster than previously forecasted and will increase 18-fold over the next five years.

So by this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the ‘top of mind’ for network operators, government officials and device manufacturers was the dramatic accelerating impact that mobile data consumption will have on Internet access, networks and users.

When we launched the mobile VNI report on February 14, a panel of industry, academia and government experts glimpsed into the future of mobile broadband and related policy issues, with three key takeaways:

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A Data Deluge, Driven by Tablets and Mobile Video, Is Disrupting Mobile Carriers

Only a few years ago, the challenges facing mobile providers seemed well within the realm of their traditional expertise. Their vast and complex infrastructures, built around towers, antennas, core networks, and the like, focused on providing the bandwidth and signal quality necessary for providing clear voice signals. Early mobile Internet applications were limited to services like weather, news, and stock quotes. As video entered the picture, it was mostly limited to a quick, manageable snack here and there on YouTube. After all, on a tiny, phone-sized screen, the prospects for a sumptuous two-hour movie feast were limited.

The situation, however, is being radically transformed. And at this years’ Mobile World Congress, which I attended last week in Barcelona, a clear focus was on a prime disruptor: the tablet and vast, media-rich applications. For with the sudden and phenomenal growth of the iPad—along with its Android-based counterparts—end users who had been limited to quick bites on YouTube are ready to indulge in long-form video buffets, anytime and anywhere. And while those game-changing tablets don’t quite provide an IMAX experience, their larger screens nevertheless offer the perfect mix of visual quality, mobility, and convenience.

For mobile service carriers, however, this has created a certain amount of havoc. Read More »

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