Top executives from AT&T, Vodafone, America Movil, China Mobile and Telefonica discuss key trends for operators.
leaders of five global telecom players and the CEO
of GSMA addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the worldwide mobile
industry with keynote presentations at the Mobile World Congress here, citing
the explosive growth of smartphones and resultant increase in demand for mobile
data access as key developments for the industry to capitalize on.
GSMA CEO Robert Conway kicked off the
event by highlighting the importance of machine to machine (M2M) connectivity
and interoperability, the advance of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, and
opportunities surrounding embedded SIM
technology and rich communication services (RCS). "At the heart of the
connected life is connected things, and embedded SIM
will be critical," he said. "RCS allows consumers to be introduced to
new services and enables seamless interactions with friends that have the same
Randall Stephenson, chairman, CEO and
president of AT&T, stressed the role cloud computing will play as mobile
broadband usage increases. He predicted it will be the lynchpin of the mobile
broadband ecosystem. Stephenson also called for increased interoperability
between devices. "Customers expect seamless access to all content across
all platforms, devices and operating systems," he said.
Due to the deep long-term investments required to advanced networks,
Stephenson advocated for light-touch industry regulation and increased spectrum
capacity, again stressing the importance of seamless access to content and
applications, video in particular. "There's a tidal wave coming, carried
by these 4G networks and cloud computing," he said. "We can try to
control it, but consumers are going to demand this content."
The focus of China Mobile CEO and Chairman
Wang Jianzhou concerned the use of WiFi networks to ease data congestion, as he
urged handset manufacturers to supply WiFi connectivity on their devices and
make it a default function. Wang said the mobile Internet requires an open
business model, citing the 590 China Mobile customers using more than 9,000
The growth of operating systems and connected devices, notably tablet
computers, was hailed by Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao as a positive
development for the industry, and he argued for tiered data pricing, which he
said allows operators to monetize high-usage customers and provides an
opportunity to upsell as new devices create more demand for mobile broadband
Competitiveness, openness and collaboration were the key themes of Colao's
presentation, although he also highlighted the importance network operators
play in the improvement of societies, pointing to the M-Pesa mobile payment
program in Africa, which he said created 40,000 jobs, and the Vodafone Instant
Network, designed to provide portable, near-instant network connectivity during
Telefonica Executive Chairman and CEO
Cesar Alierta addressed the challenge of heavy network investment required by
the demand for video traffic and the corresponding growth of mobile broadband,
calling for new business models to finance network investments. "Cooperation
between industry partners is key," he said.
Mobile growth in Latin America, which has a
population of 600 million people, and the social responsibility America Movil
has to its citizens, was the key component of company CEO
Daniel Hajj's presentation, who said the wireless market in Latin
America is expected to expand by 150 million subscribers by 2014. "Over
the next five years, people with access to data services will increase sixfold,"
he said. "The challenge is to manage this new infrastructure and make data
services affordable. We have a responsibility to provide access to affordable
data services to the vast majority of the population."