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The Path to Wi-Fi Profitability

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data and placing a crushing burden on networks. One barometer is the recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), which predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. The study also predicted that two-thirds of all mobile traffic will be video by 2015, and an additional 20 percent of this traffic will be devoted to both the mobile web and mobile data.

In parallel, we are witnessing a “perfect storm” in both Wi-Fi availability and customer acceptance that is resulting in a worldwide rise in the popularity of Wi-Fi. Consumers can now readily use their numerous Wi-Fi enabled devices in their homes, offices and increasingly in many of the other places where they spend their lives. Mobile users are actively searching out Wi-Fi connectivity as a cost-effective and adequate substitute or complement to mobile access to the Internet.

Based on this Wi-Fi “perfect storm” and the explosion of mobile data traffic traversing their networks, Service Providers realize that they now need to pay attention to Wi-Fi. In our conversations with SPs around the world they now recognize that that Wi-Fi is more than just data-off load and needs to be Read More »

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Mobile Data Traffic Is Exploding—but Who Is Profiting? How Mobile Service Providers Can Monetize Mobile Data

By Marc Latouche, Vertical Manager, IBSG Service Provider

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update projects a 13-fold increase in global mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2017 — two thirds of it video. To move all that data traffic with speed and quality, mobile network connection speeds will increase sevenfold by 2017. Clearly, mobile data services are becoming increasingly important. The question is, who will capture the revenue associated with all this activity? While mobile service providers (SPs) invest in building and maintaining the infrastructure to carry this burgeoning mobile traffic, over-the-top (OTT) content providers are benefiting from that new capacity, enabled and financed by mobile SPs.

Where are the revenue growth opportunities for service providers in this fast-changing mobile data landscape? Are there opportunities for mobile network operators to partner with OTTs, or to provide services that can extract greater value from the network? Read More »

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Preparing for an Uncertain Media Future: Even Challenging Scenarios Offer Ways To Grow

In the midst of tremendous disruption, it is impossible to tell where the global media industry is ultimately heading. But a recent analysis from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) explores four possible future scenarios for the media industry. While they do not “predict” the future, the scenarios help build our understanding of possible outcomes — and how various industry players could be affected.

The Shape of Things To Come: Four Scenarios

We explored the ways certain industry developments could swing future outcomes. Combining these drivers into logical groupings (consumer behavior, regulatory requirements, technology, and macroeconomic conditions), we were able to define the following four scenarios, as shown in Figure 1. These scenarios are differentiated by consumer demand, industry structure, and content supply:

  • Dark Ages — low demand, consolidated industry, and relatively low content supply
  • Survival of the Fittest — low demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply
  • Golden Age of Content — high demand, consolidated industry, and controlled content supply
  • Wonderland — high demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply

Obviously, each of the scenarios will have different winners and losers. The financial impact and the implications for players across the industry value chain will substantially change by scenario. And in each scenario, distributors and infrastructure providers will need to consider different types of investments. Consequently, each type of player will need to adapt its competitive responses to the future scenario taking shape.

Figure 1.   Four Future Scenarios Are Based on Various Groupings of Industry Drivers.

 cisco-ibsg-four-future-scenarios-based-on-industry-driversSource: Cisco IBSG, 2013

Following are examples of how two future scenarios could play out: Read More »

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Inflection Point: Cisco Sets the Pace of Mobility Innovation

At Cisco, we take very seriously our ability to anticipate and catch market transitions. A few years ago, we saw a market transition that would affect our Service Provider customers in the area of Mobility. With 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi deployments rising, the world was clearly shifting from Coverage, Capacity to Services… and the importance of customer experience rising amongst operators worldwide. As a result, we set in motion a new strategy for our Service Provider Mobility Group (SPMG). The key to our strategy was to develop an architecture that would enable Service Providers to offer a differentiated experience to their customers.

Our Mobility CTO Paul Mankiewich refers to the new mobility operator requirements as “the Grand Challenge.” The inflection point is here. Not only do our key SP customers recognize it, but our competitors are also seeing the tremendous business opportunity represented by the “Grand Challenge,” especially as it relates to emerging Monetization use cases that are propelling the market’s rapid growth.

Our vision to Read More »

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Wi-Fi: From ‘Poor Cousin’ to Preferred Partner

For much of Wi-Fi’s history, technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications. Today, all that is changing with the explosive demand for mobile data, the proliferation of new and powerful devices, and shifts in customer behavior and usage.  Increasingly, Wi-Fi is seen by technologists and consumers alike as a partner to licensed mobile, enabling expanded wireless access.

Based on research and engagements with leading operators throughout the globe, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group has identified six important trends that we believe are redefining this new world of Wi-Fi:

 1.     Predominance of Wi-Fi for Wireless Access Read More »

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