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Mobile in 2016 Part 1: what will give MNOs the competitive edge?

January 18, 2016

Mehul Kapadia   

Blog contributor

The start of a new year throws up familiar questions for businesses and industries of all kinds. For the mobile industry, one of, if not the most familiar question is what will separate the great from the good this year in terms of user experience. What services will make us stand out? How do we reduce churn? Ultimately, how do we provide a superior user experience to our competitors?

 Here are some of the areas that MNOs will be looking to in their quest to achieve that all-important competitive advantage:

 Mobile Payments

 Despite a fragmented infrastructure, the adoption of mobile payment technology has continued to rise. Mobile payments is a very broad field, and innovation in this space is ongoing. The use of remittance payment technology is already well documented, and a new carrier billing options are likely to present themselves in the next few years, with new options that can make MNOs more likely to adopt this approach, possibly using third party brokerage services and payment hub mechanisms to reduce concerns around financial risk on the mobile bill. In adopting such an approach, this could also provide a means for prepaid users to become more actively involved in carrier billing approaches to mobile payments, which holds the potential to open a vast new market opportunity.


 According to predictions by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), by the end of 2015, there were more than 450 LTE networks deployed globally. Mobile network operators (MNOs) in 181 countries are launching LTE services and exploring how they can be used to drive revenue and differentiate their offerings. 4G isn’t just a shift in technology; it is the realisation of new potential in wireless networking.

With so much conversation around delivering faster and more demanding services domestically, MNOs should not overlook the impact of LTE roaming. Global roaming on LTE is critical for offering a complete 4G service and ensuring that high-value subscribers access the services they want with reliable quality of service and experience.

As a result, MNOs that are able to seamlessly deliver 4G services globally are able to monetise their domestic LTE networks and gain an advantage over competitors, while subscribers experience 4G services without any limits.

LTE Broadcast

 It’s evident that the media and entertainment business is undergoing a transformation, owed to the proliferation of smart devices and HD TVs that enable consumers to view content across a number of channels, from anywhere and anytime. Going forward, the broadcasting landscape is likely to become unrecognisable with the arrival of cloud technology, together with the increased use of mobile devices to access video services.

An exciting possibility is to be able to use LTE broadcast, in conjunction with a range of new technologies, to shake up the world of broadcasting. This might include new options for global broadcasting, using OTT-like capabilities. The chance to launch new TV channels quickly and to broadcast content directly to viewers across the globe presents a whole new set of possibilities. There are global communications providers today that offer global video content distribution, but what we’ll see in the months and years ahead is the idea that communications companies, rather than traditional broadcasters, are the television content distributors of the future come to life.

VoLTE / VoWi-Fi

Spectrum fragmentation and limited availability of VoLTE-ready handsets is a limiting factor. However the adoption of new VoLTE-ready handsets from select vendors supporting multi-band operation will have a significant impact on VoLTE adoption. The value of LTE is its ability to combine voice and data services for efficiency and service benefits, and in the modern world the growing demand for video calling. As it stands, the European market needs to play catch-up with South Korea, Japan and USA.

In my next post, I will explore the opportunities and challenges at the top of MNOs’ agendas in 2016. In the meantime, Read Srini CR’s predictions for cloud computing in the year ahead. Leave your comment below.