In its fourth annual report, Mobile Europe recapped the most disruptive trends in the mobile landscape during 2013 and forecasted priorities for 2014, based on the findings of a recent survey of its readers. I encourage you to read the full issue, but here are some of the points that I found very interesting.
Looking back on 2013, 63 percent of the telco industry publication's readers said that 4G/LTE has had the most disruptive impact on mobile operators. That was followed by big data (19 percent) and cloud RAN (14 percent). Interestingly, Wi-Fi was very low on the list; however, 25 percent of operators say this will be a key disruptor in 2014, behind LTE (55 percent).
In addition to Wi-Fi, mobile operators indicated that the focus on LTE won't waver in 2014, with 82 percent answering that LTE deployments will be a top network investment priority this year. Other network investment priorities for 2014 include backhaul (29 percent) and network security (29 percent).
On the other side of the coin, the survey also asked how mobile operators plan to limit and optimize network costs in 2014, finding that more than half will prioritize traffic optimization and control. 42 percent will rely on network planning and optimization, and 32 percent will look to network sharing to help cut costs.
But what is all this network planning and build-out supporting? Well, nearly 60 percent of mobile operators say that it will be key to offer customers TV and video in 2014, while 41 percent say they will prioritize consumer apps and mobile payments. Others will prioritize communications services like UCaaS (47 percent) and voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE (47 percent).
What does all this mean for mobile operators? We can certainly expect an even more varied telco landscape in 2014, as mobile operators seek to further improve service and network performance to customers while keeping OPEX/CAPEX and future investments under control. With that, network planning and network optimization are also becoming more important to aid in these efforts — especially with the deployment of so many new services planned for this year.