"The mobile telecommunications market is reaching its tipping phase”.
We have been hearing this refrain for years, as consumers have become more and more interested in data and connectivity rather than voice minutes and SMS. Mobile operators have defended from the attack of internet providers by launching offers including ridiculous amounts of gigabytes data, while voice communications have moved to the cloud or to over-the-top players such as Skype and Whatsapp.
With changes taking place at the speed of light and carriers witnessing up to 30% decrease in revenue from SMS messaging, the future does not look bright for Telecommunications Operators, unless they take part and support the digital revolution.
One way to do so would be to learn how to use the huge amount of user data (Big Data) they collect every day, instead of letting it go to waste.
On the other hand, Telecom operators should understand and learn how to benefit from these 3 emerging trends that are reshaping the telecommunications industry.
Over-the-top (OTT) players and Rich Communications Services
98% millennials own a smartphone today, which they use to access apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. The rapid increase of Instant Messaging Services have made millennials (as well as older users) grow accustomed to a wide variety of services all bundled into one.
You won’t be surprised to see your children share pictures, videos and location details while calling their friends. Seeing them do some online shopping on the Facebook Messenger will come as no surprise either.
There is a huge share of the market available for those who able to aggregate contents from different contributors into a single user experience.
The battle is open.
On one side stand Over-the-top players (Whatsapp, Telegram, Skype to name a few) offering apps and streaming to consumers directly over the internet.
On the other side are telecom operators which are working to integrate existing voice and SMS messaging services with the new RCS (Rich Communications Service) standards, so as to enrich traditional texting and calling functions with an array of communication and media capabilities (such as media, data and file sharing).
Vodafone has already implemented this change with its Call+ and Message+ services and we expect other carriers to do the same.
Internet of Things
As human-to-machine (HMI) and machine-to-machine(M2M) interactions become business as usual, more and more everyday objects are infused with connectivity and are turning into wifi-connected devices. The internet is no longer confined to computers and mobile devices, it is now penetrating into our clothes, our homes, our vehicles and our cities. So much so that IoT sensors and devices are expected to replace smartphones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018.
Such gigantic amount of IoT connected devices will massively increase the need for connectivity and data, thus creating a dual market.
On the one hand there will be pure internet providers, trying to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.
On the other hand, Telecom Operators should aim at taking a large share of this newborn market, which is expected to account for $267 billion by 2020.
Although 5G rollout at a global level is not expected until 2020, Mobile Operators have started the debate to set the new 5G wifi standards.
Based on broadband technology, 5G will massively improve the user experience by reducing energy usage while ensuring 100% coverage. As a result, 5G will be capable to handle greater data rates and network efficiency, ensuring faster download and streaming.
5G has been designed for the Internet of Things: with its full coverage and its ability to connect up to 100 times more devices than 4G, 5G is the milestone on which Smart Cities will be built.