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2013 Meta Trends in Telecommunications - Big Data, Cloud, Data Traffic, and Over the Top Suppliers


Well the January predictions season is coming to a close as the last of the Christmas lights come down and the excesses of the holiday period fade to a distant but lingering memory.   I closely monitored the predictions this year so as to summarize them for my needs and to share on this blog. 


I read or listened to more than 10 sets of predictions from various pundits addressing all, or various parts, of the telecom and networking markets.  These include Juniper, Analysis Mason, IDC, Current Analysis, Telstra, Telecoms Industry Association, Informa, Forrester, Infonetics, Telsta.   Links, where available are below.


Looking across all of these analysis shows that each individual focuses on the areas they know best.  Nonetheless certain common themes were clear.  I give the top three “meta trends” here and then summaries of the predictions I read or listened to.


Summary trends


Big data


Juniper says that while the scale of data generated by mobile sensors, services and applications presents challenges to network providers, that data can in turn provide insight into consumer behaviour and allow service providers to anticipate future behaviour patterns.  IDC predicts that Communications Industry Business Analytics as a market category for hardware, software and services sales to telecoms will increase by almost 10% a year and is expected to be already $7.3B in 2013, which would make it bigger than, for example, the market for OSS solutions.


Generally most observers are very bullish on the prospects for big data in telecom for 2013 and the business value propositions which include network/IT optimization, improved customer experience, and data monetization (selling data).




Cloud was on most lists in some form with predictions centering on “acceleration” of cloud services (i.e. Telstra, IDC).  Current Analysis sees the need for measuring the value of the “convenience” factor of cloud services.   IDC highlights the “extended enterprise” value of cloud for linking common applications, extending the power of a network connected enterprise ecosystem, to one where data and applications are also used commonly.  


Again the group are consistent that cloud is a game changer in IT and for telecoms, though not everyone agrees there is a clear and strong business model for telcos.


Data services (video) and the coming capacity crunch


Many analysts talk about the rising importance of spectrum in the mobile industry as the industry moves from being “coverage- focused” to “capacity” constrained under the weight of LTE and Video.  IDC suggests that video will by 60% all total mobile broadband traffic by 2015.  While in the fixed line video traffic is already the single largest bandwidth user.  IDC also made the interesting prediction that there will be three times the number of devices on the mobile network by 2015, producing six times the traffic.   

Pundits predict many consequences including:   the rise of small cells in the network, increased use of shaping and bandwidth management,  enhanced role of Wifi, rapid move away from unlimited data plans in mobile, and the introduction or increase in capped or charged bandwidth in the fixed line.


To this general list I would add an additional trend that I see arising at the start of 2013:


“Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”: 2013 is the year Communications Service Providers fire back at over the top players like Google, Amazon, Netflix.


For years network service has been taken for granted by these “OTT” players, but at the start of 2013 two events happened which start to show a reversal of this state of affairs.  First, it was revealed that Google is paying Orange in Europe to carry traffic.   One may assume this is a revelation of an already broad practice.   In a second story, in France, a smaller ISP cut off Google advertising to its subscribers briefly before being force to turn it back on (by the government as it turns out).


In a related statistic, Informa announced that “OTT to the TV” viewers will outnumber IPTV, so that by 2015 380 million of the former will compare to only 163 million  IPTV viewers.    So one of the last great hopes for Internet Access and Service Providers to make money from their networks directly seems to be going quickly to OTT players instead.



Trend and Prediction Summaries




Telecom Industry Association :  John Jacobs


-          Capacity vs. coverage:  in the past mobile (especially in the US was about coverage, but with dramatic smartphone take-up, it becomes much more about capacity

-          ITU vs. ICANN – who will regulate the internet

-          Data Caps on consumers become more and more necessary to recoup operator investments

-          Network Transformation:  continuing transformation to all-IP. Challenge for smaller telecoms that do not have the money to complete this transformation.   Government support may help.

-          Cloud – tremendous opportunity for telecom operators

-          Cybersecurity – needs to become very visible for governments and telcos.

-          Spectrum – private sector is demanding more spectrum, but public owners are holding back spectrum to ensure optimization.




Informa – Mark Newman            


1)      Wi-fi business model (free) questioned

2)      Facebook figures out how to make money from Mobile

3)      Whatsapp levels off – the take-up of P2P messaging instead of SMS has reached an inflection point.

4)      Digital services - ?  Business case questioned

5)      Content providers spend big on IT 

6)      Subsidies for handsets will slip, but this will also erode the carrier to customer relationship in favour of device vendors

7)      Network Sharing  will gain favour [Editors note:  EC announced common European telecom market initiative]

8)      VoLTE – no huge business pressure to do it, as the business case is not clear in 2013.

9)      APIs – critical for Telcos to add value to Apps

10)   Netflix:  will have a  breakout hit marking a transition to a full production company as opposed to just a video streaming and rental player.




Telstra Top 10 Predictions for 2013



1)      Mobile Wallet takes off with Near Field Communication becoming entrenched.

2)      Cloud compute adoption accelerates

3)      Hype of the year – Big Data brings important benefits leading players who do it right to have a commercial advantage.  However, human experts are in short supply.

4)      ICT takes off in verticals – health, transport, mining;    Video communication for doctors to patients for example

5)      Smart sensors  boost infrastructure, health, intelligent transport.

6)      Connected homes become affordable

7)      Rapid LTE growth continues, with improved coverage and customer take-up.

8)      Better battery life

9)      Software goes mass market thanks to accessibility of heretofore too expensive or complex to set-up software via the SaaS model

10)   Speech recognition suddenly about to become useful.




IDC Telecom, Mobility and Network Infrastructure 2013 Predictions: Navigating the Storms

A free webinar featuring IDC telecom analysts


Courtney Munroe – Macro trends

-          Some growth dependent on global economy, Europe will continue to be soft.  AP, ME, Africa, LA will rebound and provide much-needed growth.

-          US – CSPs continue to transform towards IP, IP Voice, UC, SIP.  Mobile data will be the engine for revenue growth.

-          Cloud is still an elusive business model, but transformative

-          Optical build out from core to edge continues

-          Multi-screen video

-          Mobile operators will face scarce capacity;   will differentiate via partnerships

-          Exploding demand for mobile app software middleware.

-          Cloud – extended enterprise – cloud allows sharing of software, processes etc. 

-          Cloud brokerage models:  network is medium for connecting data services;

-          Accelerated network API development and exposure of APIs;  


Steve Drake – Mobile enterprise software

-          Grows 31% per annum in mobile enterprise software market;  

-          Convergence will occur across all categories – i.e. core platform players now want Mobile enterprise management (i.e. MDM), device, application, mobile content management;  security across all.

-          Mobile Application Management will grow larger then MDM.


Amy Lind – Universal Communications (UC)


-          2013 is a mass market year.     Hosted UC and UCaaS (UC as a Service) will begin a run of 41% growth per annum.   Majority of enterprises are now saying they want hosted UC.   

-          New adoption drivers in the enterprise – improved productivity, management and customer service

-          Broadband – metered billing will continue to grow


John Weber – Consumer Mobile

-          Consumer mobile services reach $119B by 2013 end.  10.6% Mobile services growth 2011-2016, driven by data services

-          OTT players coming to the fore;  Services such as Kick, Whatsapp, Facetime will grow, driving more innovation


John Byrne – Spectrum, Small cell, 

-          Spectrum, Small cells key to maintaining network performance

-          Verizon and ATT well positioned for spectrum.  Sprint can be with Clearwire.  T-Mobile lacking;  DishNet has interesting spectrum.

-          Carrier grade Wi-Fi taking off.  Not just for offload – but for new monetization opportunities – i.e. sales to Stadium users


Deb Oswald – Business Analytics

-          From 2010 – 2015 we will see three times devices, and six times  data volume on the network

-          The market for Communications industry business analytics (software, services and hardware purchased by communications industry customer)  growing fast with $7.3B in 2013 and a 9.4% CAGR 2010-15;

-          This investment will be enable “actionable insight”.  

-          Marketing becomes one of the top priority organizations for these analytics

-          Other drivers:  “network optimization” better use of assets among customers; metered usage plans etc.  CSPs need to look at strategic plan for operationalizing data across  marketing, operations, customer support, and networks; 


Nav Chander – Telecom infrastructure trends and enterprise services

-          5% increase in telecom infrastructure spending – to $121B in 2013

-          IP VPN, MPLS see good growth to $40B in services; huge growth in ethernet and optical backhaul around the world.   In 2013 – 40GEthernet datacenter connections will be used in metros and dark fiber is back.

-          Software Defined network is something to watch:  many CSPs are looking at plans.  Vendors have started down path of virtualizing their routers, but a lot more work to be done.  CSPs are still testing them out, we have not seen wide scale deployment but it will start in 2013.



RCR Wireless - 2013 Predictions: Top technologies and trends for 2013


1)      Market consolidations in the Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM) and Telecom Expense Management (TEM) markets

2)      Bring your own Device Market explosion

3)      M2M market set to take off

4)      4G arrival does not signal end of fixed line

5)      Controlling user behaviour in IT

6)      Windows – the new blackberry

7)      MDM consolidation – plus becomes essential

8)      IP Based P2P to overtake SMS

9)      SMS providers find new routes to market

10)   Telecoms expense management becomes telecoms services lifecycle management in the enterprise  (includes mobile)




Forrester Networking predictions for 2013 – Andre Kindness


1)      SDN will go down a refinement process with lots of diversity like Network access control did.  2013 is not the year for SDN in the enterprise network.

2)      Network Software engineers needed to keep up with the complexity of configuring networks (CLIs aren’t good enough)

3)      WLAN in the enterprise important for BYOD, but also much more about meeting corporate business needs.

4)      Complexity in the network means suppliers should be evaluated on their ability to provide professional services as much as technological best or price.




Juniper’s Top Ten Wireless Predictions for 2013 (Press Release)


1)      Big Data to become big business

2)      Smart Glasses & Other Wearables: 2013, the year of ‘announcements’

3)      BYOD trend on the rise, as security issues escalate

4)      Retail to embrace the in-store mobile strategy

5)      Operators to adopt seamless WiFi & LTE connectivity

6)      Mobile Becomes the Connectivity Hub

7)      The Year of Microsoft

8)      The multi-screen, seamless user experience becomes a reality

9)      New mobile and tablet form factors to emerge

10)   Social Gaming is on the rise




Current Analysis 2013 Most Important Themes




Key trend:  Hyper connectivity – internet of things, everything connected

Cloud  – what is the value of the convenience provided, how can carriers gain cost efficiencies.

Mobile Data monetization.  Growth is good, but how can mobile data continue as a profitable growth


Service Provider Infrastructure and Business Tech & Software trends

-          Service enablement takes precedence over speeds and feeds.

-          How is OSS/BSS used to monetize more than just control

-          IT vendors becoming more relevant in the network

-          Mobile worker and mobile environment is big change

-          Cloud Adoption: Virtualization remains high priority, huge ROI

-          Orchestration and App visibility

-          SDN:  “ few proven use cases to date, though immense promise”

-          BYOD matures triggering Mobile App Management and enterprise app stores.




Hope you found this useful.  Please leave any comments below.


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