As I reflected on a very memorable Mobile World Congress 2015 during the plane ride home from Barcelona a few days ago, it became clear that the transformation Cisco has been seeing in the telecommunications service provider industry is now a global movement.

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It’s not just happening in Europe, or Latin America, or Asia. It’s quite literally everywhere.

“Transformation through Innovation” was Cisco’s theme for this year’s Mobile World Congress, and at heart of our service provider strategy. It’s quite clear we’re onto something.

In countless conversations last week with leaders of forward-thinking global service providers in Barcelona, I heard two familiar themes over and over again –“Transformation and Innovation.” They’re all seeking to transform their architectures and businesses – and ultimately their customers’ experiences – to capture new opportunities in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era. In fact, the IoE – the networked connection of people, processes, data and things – is expected to create a $1.7 trillion market opportunity for service providers over the next decade.

With large networks that deliver mobile, video, collaboration, and other offerings to individual subscribers and businesses of all sizes, service providers are in an enviable position, sitting at the center of the IoE. They alone have the unique opportunity to take advantage of all kinds of new IoE connection types, and integrating them to deliver rich new applications, services and experiences.

What a truly exciting time to be in this industry!

That said, existing operational complexity can stifle service providers’ abilities to reduce costs and become more agile in bringing new capabilities to market. The reality is, today most new applications and services take months to roll out. If this pace does not rapidly accelerate, the entire industry will be left behind.

Over three years ago, Cisco began a transformation of our own that has been pivotal in our ability to take advantage of new market opportunities, while enabling our service provider customers to transform their businesses. We have shifted the focus from point solutions to the broader automation and orchestration of virtual services (…believe it or not, Cisco did not display one single router at Mobile World Congress this year). This shift will help operators not only generate new revenue streams, but also significantly reduce operating expenses and speed time to market.

I believe Cisco is better aligned with service providers than at any time in our history.

At Mobile World Congress, we announced a number of new and extended partnerships with major global service providers in several key strategic areas. We view this as a leading indicator of the disruptive change taking place in the telecommunications industry, with Cisco emerging as the preferred partner.

Providers such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Telefonica, Telstra, EE of the UK, Ooredoo of Qatar, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Etisalat of Egypt, XL Axiata of Indonesia, and Equinix announced strategic deployments with Cisco.

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On behalf of Cisco’s service provider organization, we look forward to working with the entire industry to continue creating an environment that advances innovation while enhancing profitability, something we call “Transformation through Innovation.”

 We’re already looking forward to Mobile World Congress 2016!





Kelly Ahuja

Senior Vice President

Service Provider Business, Products, and Solutions