Telcos facing a ‘perfect storm’ of commercial and technology challenges in 2014

Press release - London, Feb 12 2014

Real Wireless, the independent experts behind the UK spectrum auction, have today warned that operators are walking in to a ‘perfect storm’ of commercial and technology challenges in 2014 - and few are doing anything to prepare for it.

This is the conclusion of significant and comprehensive analysis it conducted, looking at every aspect of the wireless industry in 2014, taken from a landmark Manifesto launched today. This covered everything from spectrum to technology, economics, the locations people are using wireless and the commercial opportunities available in the next twelve months and beyond.

Some of the challenges include:
  • Small Cells. Sophisticated operators have developed plans for seizing the opportunities of small cells, and see them as an important source of competitive advantage. Crucially, the technology enables them to re-engineer processes and human capital. They also involve partnering and outsourcing more operations, often to landline operators and MSOs. Other operators risk being commercially blind-sided.
  • 5G is coming faster than many appreciate, with vendors demonstrating technology and standards activity progressing. However, as complex as spectrum has been for LTE, with UEs having multiple product SCUs to complicate roaming, it will be even harder for 5G. There will be increasing tension between mobile operators, satellite operators, broadcast TV and other spectrum users. Few operators or regulators are prepared for these issues, which will come to the fore at WRC15.
  • Having 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G all running, all interacting and all needing spectrum will be a technical nightmare and financially insupportable – yet few carriers have planned for how to switch off any of their technologies – while growing use of M2M on 2G complicates this. 2G will be largely unaffected this year, but pressures to eventually phase it out will grow progressively. Meanwhile, other operators will make serious plans to phase out 3G in favour of 4G.
  • Wireless consumers and users are becoming more demanding. The remorseless growth in traffic poses its own challenges, but they are also increasingly unwilling to accept poor coverage. Enterprises, stadium owners, retailers are increasingly aware of this, and see good wireless service as business critical. Some operators have developed strategies for how to serve this demand in a responsive and cost-efficient way. Others are in jeopardy of falling behind.

Full report here: