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“What is the path forward in a time of rapid technological innovation, empowered customers and declining core business revenues?” That’s the question that keeps many a Telco exec up at night.  Rarely has an industry seen such dramatic change after such a long period of relative stability.  Since the dawn of the telegraph, the communications industry relied on a combination of vertical integration and a one-sided market revenue model – and it worked.  But, the rise of so-called “non-traditional” communications companies is disrupting the market.  Luckily, traditional Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have plenty of assets that they can leverage for continued success – including access to a tremendous customer base, a long history of service delivery excellence, and the network infrastructure that new services need to rely upon. 

As the industry converges for the largest Telco and mobility event of the year, Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, Spain, February 25 – 28), we’ll have a chance to hear what the world’s largest CSPs are talking about and what’s top of mind for their executives.  Looking into my crystal ball, I expect conversations around the following three trends:

1.       The Cloud – It’s not “If” it’s “How Much?”:  The concept of a shared infrastructure has been embraced by enterprises.  Now CS’s are looking at what services and applications can be delivered and hosted for their enterprise customers and for partners who can provide a strong integration story with the enterprises’ existing business processes.  This combination allows companies to incrementally move parts of these processes into the cloud while still leveraging existing on premise solutions.

2.       Business?  Consumer?  Both.:  The era of classifying customers as either a business or a consumer may be on its way out. Instead, we see a focus on delivering content and services that are targeted at an individual.  With trends like telecommuting and multiple device ownership on the rise, the lines between the business and consumer are increasingly blurred.

3.       Mobilizing Content and Services:  Customers will combine cloud services, SaaS, and remote desktop access to bring new meaning to the term “mobility.” Portability is the name of the game and customers will no longer want, or need, to be tethered to any specific location or device to get everything they need to do their job or access their information.

It’s an exciting time for the industry and I, for one, am excited to hear from the top executives and industry thought leaders next week Mobile World Congress about their take on the continue transformation of Telcos.  The story continues…..

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