TeliaSonera's LTE roaming announcement highlights the challenges facing operators
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Steven Hartley, telco strategy analyst, Ovum
"TeliaSonera has announced that its Danish LTE customers can now roam on its Swedish network, which the operator is proclaiming as a European first. While any development in LTE roaming must be applauded, the time it has taken to reach such a seemingly underwhelming point speaks volumes about the inherent complexities of roaming and the challenges that remain.
"At first glance, the announcement that customers from a market that has had LTE for two years can roam to a network operated by the same company in a neighbouring country looks like nothing exciting. This is especially the case given that the industry is used to international roaming between continents and operators. However, this would be to ignore the progress made in 2G and 3G roaming, and hides the nascent state of the LTE market.
"Many challenges remain before LTE roaming becomes ubiquitous. On a global scale, there is spectrum fragmentation, although efforts such as those announced by Qualcomm last week will go a long way towards addressing this. Yet it is the operational perspective and bilateral nature of roaming deals that adds complexity and explains why this is an important stepping stone in the technology's development.
"All of these issues manifest themselves in the commercial details of roaming tariffs. Can innovative mobile broadband tariffs be used abroad Will pricing be limited to a per megabyte basis How much will it cost to use LTE abroad Unfortunately, TeliaSonera has not provided any answers in its announcement, but at least roaming has arrived."
Opening Keynote: Cesar Alierta, chairman and CEO of Telefonica and Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone Group
Catherine Haslam, wholesale analyst, Ovum
In this morning's opening keynote session at Mobile World Congress, Cesar Alierta, chairman and CEO of Telefonica and Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone Group made strong calls for changes to the wholesale regulatory regimes in Europe, as they claim the market has become over-competitive.
However, according to Catherine Haslam, wholesale analyst at Ovum, operators need to change their attitudes towards mobile wholesale and enhance their wholesale portfolios to become enablers of more advanced and differentiated MVNOs:
"The limitations of many mobile operators' wholesale services means that they are competing only on price and perpetuating a race to the bottom amongst budget MVNOs. If mobile operators enable more niche and value-added MVNOs, they can build a more effective wholesale revenue stream. Many are currently leaving wholesale revenues on the table by failing to see it as a mainstream revenue stream."
Ericsson furthers M2M and video commitment
Steven Hartley, telco strategy analyst, Ovum
"Ericsson added to its flurry of recent announcements at this morning's press conference at MWC 2013. Today's announcements follow similar themes to their predecessors (M2M and video) and fit neatly with Ericsson's vision for the "networked society". However, this is more than theory or a new product. Ericsson has revealed that operators are using the services, although in the case of M2M we question if there could be greater opportunities for Ericsson if it were to bypass operators, albeit at the risk of alienating its close customer relationships.
"The first announcement relates to M2M. Ericsson and SAP have combined to provide cloud-based management of M2M implementations. Ericsson's Device Connection Platform & Service Enablement Platform is to be combined with SAP's HANA platform in an offering to mobile operators that provides enterprises with end-to-end management of M2M solutions. Closer integration of the M2M operational ecosystem has been needed for many years and this is another sign that M2M is maturing.
"Significantly, operators were rolled out to boost the solution's credibility - Telenor Connexion and 3UK on this occasion. However, the value added by the telco beyond connectivity strikes us as muted. As we have said in the past, there is certainly an opportunity for SAP and/or Ericsson to sell directly to enterprises and bring in appropriate operator support when necessary, although the risk to Ericsson's extensive operator relationships will be a key barrier.
"The second announcement - Ericsson's Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) to deliver broadcast video over LTE - also comes with operator support. Ericsson's Consumer Labs found that 67% of consumers use mobile devices to consume TV services, so managing the traffic efficiently is vital for profitability and the customer experience. Significantly, Ericsson announced that Verizon Wireless will launch the service in 2014, while Telstra will trial the solution later this year."
Ford focuses on in-car entertainment
Jeremy Green, telco strategy analyst, Ovum
"Ford's offerings at MWC 2013 were less exciting than its announcements at last year's event. The company made three announcements this year: a new SUV for Europe - the EcoSport; a global partnership with Spotify to integrate its services with Ford's SYNC AppLink voice-control platform; and three new infotainment content partners.
"Ford led with its EcoSport compact SUV, heralding it as one of its first European cars to use the SYNC AppLink system. Its developer program for the voice-control solution was launched at CES 2013 and boasted 2,500 developers after four weeks. Not a bad start, but the ecosystem will need further support before in-car applications become mass market.
"However, having Spotify on board will undoubtedly boost Ford's in-car profile. The music giant's 20 million users will no doubt appreciate the announcements, although how many of its users will be able to afford a SUV (or even influence its purchase) will limit adoption. The other partners announced (Kaliki, Glympse, and Aha) look to be interesting content add-ons, but again are unlikely to sway the purchasing decision."
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Jointly awarded IIAR Global Analyst of the Year 2012, Ovum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Its research draws upon over 400,000 interviews each year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and its clients unparalleled insight, not only into business requirements but also the technology that organizations must support. Ovum is an Informa business.
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