Inside telecommunications Issue 9
In this issue, we consider a range of subjects, from connected car strategies through to new mobile operating systems and device form factors.
Global Telecommunications Leader
Take a closer look:
The first three months of 2013 saw high levels of deal activity sustained from the end of last year. Consolidation remains the chief driver for transactions, with rivals attempting to snap each other up in a number of markets, from the US to Russia.
A range of drivers are responsible for the uptick in deal value and volume:
- Footprint reappraisals
- Wireless spectrum needs
- Multi-play bundle provision
While many players are seeking scale, we are also seeing new forms of innovation across a number of domains, both within and beyond the telecommunications industry. February’s GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona showed a number of themes to be gaining in prominence.
Connected car strategies are maturing at a heady rate, with new alliances between car manufacturers, mobile operators and technology players arriving thick and fast. Mobile payments is another area where use cases are developing fast; for example, near field communications (NFC) scenarios are stretching well beyond payments towards identity and security service.
Pricing models are also the scene of continuing change. Last year, we considered how the migration to LTE networks was spurring operator attempts to jettison unlimited data pricing packages. With 4G services now available on all continents, it is clear that current customer plans represent an inversion of earlier packages, with unlimited voice and text featuring alongside tiered data.
Device subsidy models are also evolving in new ways as operators look to cut the costs associated with provisioning high-end devices and meet consumer demands for more flexible payment options.
UK operator O2 has announced a new tariff – Refresh – that splits out service plan components, allowing users who do not wish to upgrade their devices to pay only airtime costs once they have reimbursed the cost of their smartphones. Mobile operator T-Mobile USA has also confirmed that it will become the first major wireless player in the US to remove smartphone subsidies.
While news in the mobile industry sends ripples across the sector, the fixed-line market is also showing new signs of dynamism. 1Gbps fiber broadband services have been announced by operators in the US and Australia, for example; as other players reveal new fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage targets.
In March, China Telecom highlighted it would pass another 25 million households this year, while French players, France Telecom/Orange and SFR have announced they are co-operating to reach 100% FTTH coverage for the Paris region by 2020.
In years to come it will be interesting to see how the relationship between fixed and mobile broadband networks is redefined, with infrastructure upgrade paths in both technologies looking more ambitious than ever.
Senior Global Telecommunications Analyst