MWC 2012: infrastructure, consumer experience and m-payments

Despite the economy crises, Anne Bouverot, General Director of GSMA, opened the congress emphasizing the growth of the event.

The carrier’s main executives have talked about the data traffic explosion in mobile, the needs of infrastructure improvements and partnerships to enhance the consumer experience. Victorio Colao, Chief Excutive of Vodafone, has announced the Vodafone/Visa partnership for a new mobile payments solution.

According to Franco Bernabé, Chairman of GSMA & CEO of Telecom Italia, “mobile is changing the way we live and act and becoming the primary mean to access vital services”. The lack of infrastructure to support the mobile data traffic explosion that follows this new way of life is the top ranked challenge, according to most of the executives. Partnerships should be established to face this challenge. “Everyone should bring value to the ecosystem”, says Bernabé

Besides the infrastructures issues, the customer centricity has finally landed as one of the main concerns in those carriers strategy. Innovative and exciting solutions for users is the new trend in 2012, affirms

Li Yue, president of China Mobile, presented its mobile market platform case, which mantra is “open for cooperation and competing for development”. The platform promotes partnerships and integration with other companies, which have the chance to reach the Chinese market. It promotes enhanced services to final users under a friendly user interface and experience. The solutions creation side of this platform has reached 2,000 universities and more than 70 incubations. In gaming, they have reached 670 million downloads. Companies like Disney, WAC and Japanese and Korean developers are examples of international cooperation through this strategic tool. Although, president Li points out that challenges are greater than opportunities in this field.

A number consistently mentioned by the speakers is that the mobile data traffic nowadays is 8x the whole data traffic of year 2000 and that is expected an increase of 18 times by year 2016, when 10 billion mobile devices should be connected to internet. The investments in infrastructure are mandatory to support this growth and to offer an adequate service even for the current use.

More than chocolate – Vittorio Collao, Chief Executive of Vodafone, talked about the path from opportunities to reality in this field, based on the new customers’ behavior and trends. Nowadays, 25% of the Europeans own a smartphone and they depend more than ever on their mobile devices. Vittorio showed a research, where was asked what would you give up to use for one week: 70% answered alcohol, 63% chocolate, but only 57% chose use email and 20% stream content. Another interesting behavioral data is that 81% of the interviewed consumers uses their personal mobile devices at work , 33% of all iPads are used for business and 56% expect an immediate response on mobile calls out of office hours.

Mobile Payments – According to the Vodafone’s CEO, customers expects high quality in services on data. Ubiquity, excellence in service, security & privacy and convenience & trust are the foru things that should be worked by the operators. Evolving in this direction, Vodafone launched his new solution in mobile payments, in partnership with Visa and other big players, which is a breakthrough in the market, because of the traditional distance between carriers and financial institurions. The official announcement happened in another press conference and launched a NFC m-wallet, starting operations in Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Turkey.

According to Vittorio, another big issue to be discussed is the excessive regulation in this sector. In difficult times, most of the resources that are applied to fulfill this regulation should be invested in infrastructure and innovation.

Virtous Cycle of Innovation – Ralph de La Vega, president, president and CEO of Mobility AT&T, explained what he calls the virtuous cycle of innovation: with a spectrum available, advanced networks are developed, which leads to innovative devices development, leading to applications and content developments, increasing consumer consumption, that finally leads to a new spectrum.

According to La Vega, the challenge now is to make it effortless for consumers, enable and foster an sustainable ecosystem of innovation.