In 2016, network modernization and consolidation combined with falling revenues will force operators to discover new ways to simplify and automate network management. At the same time competition will heat up as new businesses that rely on connectivity for their operations, like Uber that requires a mobile app for operations and payment, will demand high network performance to prevent congestion from interfering with their revenues.
Here are the top five trends we predict for 2016.
#1: CONSOLIDATION OF MOBILE OPERATOR NETWORKS
M&A activity in Europe is set to rise in order to counteract sinking ARPU and a rise in investment required to keep up with the demand for mobile data. Competition levels continue to increase, while penetration in most European markets has reached the 70-80% mark, which is when market growth tends to stall. Furthermore, strong regulation on termination rates and roaming, coupled with weak or negative economic growth have exacerbated difficult market conditions and contributed to increased network transformation in the industry.
#2: CONNECTIVITY-BASED SERVICES DEMAND QOE
The growing number of network-based services, resulting from the rise in energy management, smart building, emergency response services and other IoT applications, will put pressure on operators to take responsibility for interruptions to digital services. There will be a demand for operators to be able to measure and ensure a minimum service level so that businesses will not be exposed to risk due to network congestion and delays.
Head of Product Marketing & Business Development,
#3: COMMUTERS AS A TARGET MARKET
Today, commuters are taking advantage of greater connectivity and new apps to enrich their daily commute, relying on their mobile phones for work, entertainment, and shopping. Commuters can be a viable market segment that can provide operators with brand differentiation and even new revenue opportunities. As the number of subscribers who shop while commuting increases, operators have more incentive to ensure they have a smooth ride on their networks. This trend will become more prevalent when connected cars become more commonplace and commuters will rely on networks for navigation, autonomous operation and the ability to view streaming video during the journey.
#4: FOCUS ON AUTOMATION
With network modernization and consolidation there are more heterogeneous and hybrid networks including multivendor services that are delivered across technologies, including 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi and VoLTE. There will be a push towards simplifying network management of these complex networks by automating the manual tasks required for on-going commissioning resulting from physical changes including site swaps, new site configurations and physical parameter changes.
#5: CUSTOMER CENTRICITY DRIVING NETWORK OPTIMIZATION
Growing network complexity will drive the implementation of platforms that provide an ecosystem of solutions to optimize network performance. Operators will look to independent solution providers with strategic and proven partnerships in order to deliver solutions that can be virtualized across heterogeneous networks, and capable of leveraging their different network equipment and technologies in order to bring value to their subscribers. 2016 promises to be a challenging year, and those operators that come ahead will be the ones that use intelligent network management to make the best use of existing resources while delivering reliable voice and data services to their high value customers.