Musings and mutterings from the just-completed Mobile World Congress 2012 . . .
Darned if this still isn’t the only place in the universe where there are waiting lines leading into the men’s rooms but not the ladies’ rooms . . . Obviously, the planners did not heed my carefully crafted suggestion for improvement made in the wake of the 2011 event.
Barcelona did get the weather right this year, though – Each day was darned sunny and fairly warm . . . a decided contrast to the last two Februarys.
The show was held two weeks later this year than in previous years, so no one had an excuse for being away on Valentine’s Day. “Sorry, honey, but I ‘have’ to go to Barcelona this week . . .” didn’t work this time.
All that aside, MWC continues to enhance its position as the largest, most important service provider-focused show of the year.
The projected attendance was 65,000, about 12% more than in 2011. It will be a few days before the official figure is posted, but, judging from the traffic inside and outside the Fira de Barcelona all four days, the estimate seems reasonable.
The most prominent theme this year was SP Wi-Fi/small cells . . . which just happened to align perfectly with Cisco’s key messaging and announcement. Not to mention numerous customer-focused mentions this week and last. Cisco focused “not only on what we make, but what we make possible.”
Other consistent themes included monetization, optimization, reducing capex and opex, and cloud applications.
ARPU continues to stagnate . . . a real problem for operators.
Another theme often heard is that service providers are more and more looking for advice from vendors. There was a time when that was not true. “They’re looking at the situation and saying, ‘We need some help figuring out what to do with all this stuff,” one analyst remarked. Another added, “It’s VERY important for a vendor to be considered a trusted advisor.” Hmmm – Does Cisco’s consulting arm – the Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) – ring a bell?
Mobile World Congress has evolved – as it must – in its approximately 15 years of existence. Real old-timers remember when it was small and very clubby. Particularly in the last few years, it has changed and broadened as the concept of mobility has become more ubiquitous. “Three years ago, it was more of a pure infrastructure show with the Huaweis, Ericssons of the world holding forth,” said one. “Last year, companies like Samsung and Google got much of the attention. This year, it’s WiFi and small cells.”
“Four years ago here, a Hotspot was an oddity,” one analyst said. “Now, it’s the norm.”
In a Cisco analyst/media event about small cells, Telstra CTO Dr. Hugh Bradlaw said, “It’s the network, stupid. That’s what makes the cloud possible.”
Machine-to-machine continues to grow in importance. One analyst firm characterized it this way: “M2M = M3 . . . Make More Money”.
Overheard while standing in line at the men’s room: “Operators are chasing the consumer too much and not realizing that a lot of SMBs and mid-market companies are dying for solutions that are right in their [the operators’] sweet spot.”
Many mobile operators are working hard to simply manage this incredible tidal wave of mobile data traffic, but one operator, Vodafone Hungary, is thinking one step ahead: How do we not only manage, but also monetize our mobile traffic?
We sat down with two of Vodafone Hungary’s strategic and technical leaders to discuss how Vodafone Hungary is planning to leverage the intelligence in the Cisco ASR 5000 mobile packet core to design new services, deliver differentiated services, and develop new business models.
The “information superhighway” metaphor is more appropriate than ever for mobile networks today. There are increasingly more and different types of traffic, drivers, and vehicles. And the focus on speed, cost, and efficiency in mobile backhaul is akin to moving more cars through freeway on-ramps and exits faster and with less overhead.
As outlined by Cisco’s Next-Generation Internet architecture, Cisco is working to optimize the service provider roadway with innovative and cost-effective solutions like the new ASR 9000 System. And just as a better car can offer an improved experience, better safety, and more miles-per-gallon, Cisco’s Unified RAN Backhaul solution provides greater performance, reliability, scale, and power efficiency. Read More »
Contributed by David Flesh, Sr Manager, Product Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group
I’m excited to be attending TeleManagement Forum Management World Conference this week in Dublin, Ireland. Come meet me and Executives from the Cisco Network Management Technology Group, Cloud & Managed Services, and Advanced Services teams. We will be available to meet with customers to discuss the Cisco service provider offerings, service provider architectures, management solutions and Cloud offerings at Liffey Suites 3 & 4.
Visit our Demo Suite at Campshire 3 to experience our integrated management suite, Cisco Prime.
Also, Come see Cisco Cloud and management offerings in action at our Catalyst at Forumville, top deck Booth 2.
This year’s Catalyst will focus on Enhanced Cloud Service Management. This builds on our previous Inter-Cloud Service Management catalyst and shows how Service Providers can differentiate themselves with “Cloud Services” that leverage some of their most important assets and the TM Forum Frameworx. BT is project champion for the Catalyst and partners Comptel, Progress Software, MetraTech, Amartus, and InfoVista are joining Cisco in the development and delivery of the demo.
According to the Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI), mobile data traffic grew 2.6 fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row. Growing mobile data demand caused by the huge growth of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices is continuing to drive the evolution of mobile networks worldwide.
However, if not properly managed and monetized, this growth in traffic will outpace growth in revenues. Intelligence, scalability, reliability, and service enablement are all key factors in helping mobile operators not only control this huge wave of mobile data, but also launch new, revenue-generating services.
Mobile Policy and Charging Control (PCC) is one of the main tools used to manage and monetize mobile traffic. This is pushing the policy market into hyper-growth mode. According to Infonetics Research Analyst Shira Levine, policy management revenues were up 48% last year, and will quadruple by 2015.
“The policy engine is the brains of how you want the network to treat different things at different times. It’s essential.” Tony Melone, CTO of Verizon Communications, Fierce Wireless, March 16, 2011