In 2015, the key words of the Mobile World Congress were 5G, IoT, virtualization and LTE-U : PART 1

MWC infog

As for each edition, IDATE has been Analyst partner of the Mobile World Congress. A fantastic opportunity for our analysts and experts to interview many professionals coming from their Mobile planet to Barcelona for this intense and tremendous week.

5G Concept

Even though the concept of 5G is still very much under discussion (videos from KT, Huawei presented during conferences), NGMN (next generation mobile networks) Alliance published its 5G white paper which can be seen as the mobile operators “wish list” for 5G. Nonetheless, 5G is scheduled for 2020. Early trials should arrive in 2018, with projects scheduled for the Winter Olympic games in South Korea (4G became real in 2010’s, 3G in 2000’s). Key advantages of 5G over 4G would be a much lower latency (1ms compared to 40 ms in 4G and 100 ms with 3G), the capacity to connect billions of devices, faster response that will boost services like augmented reality, self driving cars and online gaming. Huawei mentioned that 5G should reach 10 Gbps (7 minutes to download a movie with 4G, 6 s with 5G).

5G should better take into account specific requests of vertical markets (healthcare, automotive, energy, government, city management, manufacturing and public transportation) and better manage the Internet of Things.

Equipment suppliers showed first demos of 5G air interface using millimetric bands (70 GHz - Nokia) and 15 GHz (Ericsson). New air interface techniques were proposed by Huawei with the non-orthogonal access technology based on Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA), and Filtered-Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (F-OFDM).

With tvisuel principal idate MWC v2he 5GPPP (Public Private Partnership), Europe is trying to accelerate developments of 5G with fundings of €700 million for R&D. It is expected that the industry will invest five times this amount. According to the 5GPPP, 5G should be based upon a HetNet (heterogeneous network) supporting various radio access technologies and frequency bands ranging from sub-1 GHz bands to 100 GHz. Various traffic profiles will have to be supported:


•    Low speed-low energy for IoT sensors
•    High speeds for video services
•    Very low latency profile for mission critical services such as PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) and for transportation issues

Google will soon become a MVNO

Google confirmed during the MWC that the group is negotiating MVNO agreements with the US mobile operators. Light details on Google plans so far. Further information scheduled for months to come. Nova is not expected to compete directly against US MNOs. In addition, Google do not want to launch a network at scale.
The Google MVNO will only work with the Nexus6. “The focus of Google’s network could be on connecting devices other than phones, as watches, cars and other devices increasingly will include mobile connectivity features”.Mobile Identity

Different methods of identification and authentication, each suited to particular transaction types (from access to social network to official ID) ; biometric authentication as a new solution.
•    Digital identity card exists in Estonia (with digital authentication), biometric card exists in middle east and Africa (Algeria, South Africa)
•    Mobile authentication is a challenge for mobile operators, but the market is far from mass-market: demand is not ready for official ID authentication on mobile, standards are needed, as well as regulation.Mobile Id could be a leapfrog technology in emerging countries where people don’t even have identity papers, and have a mobile phone.
If mobile operators don’t manage to be positioned on this market, banks or social networks could.


PICTO VIRTUANetwork Function Virtualization (NFV) appeared last year during MWC and is now close to commercial implementation by mobile operators. Telefonica demonstrated a full network together with ALU and HP. It will integrate a vRAN, vCDN, vEPC and vIMS.
A first implementation of vRAN was presented by China Mobile which is collaborating with Alcatel-Lucent and Intel on Cloud-RAN, which is seen as a first step towards virtual RAN. NTT Docomo is working with NEC on virtualization of the core network (EPC).


LTELOGO2LTE-U technology is important and was present on many vendors’ booths. It will give free access to additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band currently used by Wifi. This will provide SDL (supplementary downlink) capability, providing extra capacity for downlink traffic, especially video. LBT (Listen Before Talk), the specific function which will allow smooth compatibility between Wifi and LTE in the 5 GHz band will be included in 3GPP Release 13 expected to be adopted in Q3 2016.
LTE and Wifi carriers can also be combined in order to provide higher throughputs but in that case, the benefits of LTE higher spectrum efficiency are not present.



Internet Services: where is the value?


Head of Internet Business Unit at IDATE

The Internet services industry is often perceived as a world of completely free services (and thus implicitly low quality), where everything is supported by advertising. In reality, the situation is obviously more complex. The majority of Internet services revenue comes from paid or transactional services, and the proportion of advertising revenue is trending downward (see Chapter 2, Internet markets) with the development of new services around mobile, cloud computing and even social networks, which rely more and more (at least partly) on paid solutions.

A low-cost approach to services?

Many services are actually offered in freemium versions, with a basic free version (often ad-supported) and a more premium paid version. Spotify and Deezer use this model for online music distribution, and Dropbox and similar services use the same for cloud computing. The goal is to establish a large user base by offering free services, and to then use this base as a lever to attract users to the paid services. The associated marketing costs are therefore next to nothing. The bestperforming players are managing to convert almost 15% of their user base to the paid versions.

Even paid services providers (including freemium models) are adopting low-cost pricing strategies, which breaks with traditional pricing models (like Skype for VoIP, Netflix for SVOD, Amazon for e-commerce and PayPal for payments) and thus undermines traditional service providers. However, this does not mean that Internet players never offer premium services.

Telco and OTT provider revenue in Europe's 5 biggest markets

Premium services still exist on the Web

Where monetisation and value creation of Internet services has seen the most success is when providers have used an approach that combines lower-cost pricing and premium services aimed at the end user and/or third parties (such as merchants, advertisers and developers). It is often the functionality offered to the user rather than the price that is premium, especially in terms of customer service (Amazon), scope of the service, account management and device support (Netflix), decision support, ease-of-use (PayPal). Most players also rely on a two-sided approach.

The service offered to third parties who connect with or capture data from users is premium. The price per unit for this is often moderate, too. But the service is very attractive for advertisers and merchants in such terms as quantity and quality of available data, ease of implementation, value-added services, targeting capacity. Advertisers are always willing to pay more for advertisements to reach the most attractive targets. The CPMs are therefore much higher on financial information sites. It is, then, ultimately data, and personal data in particular, that constitutes the premium resource of the Internet.

How top internet companies are positioned

Premium services need advanced tools

To effectively implement premium services on the Internet (and consequently data management and processing), most players are investing heavily in infrastructure for both hardware and software. Major Internet players are positioning themselves around essential technological cornerstones, such as data centres, the Cloud, browsers, operating systems and even devices themselves, or specialized solutions such as DRM. They are implementing their own solutions and developing proprietary approaches if necessary, even offering their resources to third parties (such as Amazon Web Services, Google Analytics, Facebook Connect). Google invests almost one billion USD per quarter in infrastructure.

Advanced software solutions are also central to many Internet players’ activities, particularly around data processing and analysis, which is the focus of the recent growth of big data (see the Big data section in this chapter). Google is therefore indirectly behind the current reference service Hadoop, which derives from Google’s MapReduce.

Averageannual per-user revenue for digital content

Premium Internet services involve platform development

Premium services also require vast amounts of data to be collected. This data capture can be direct (via user tracking),declarative or from various sensors. It can also come from third parties through agreements (possibly via their API).

This has pushed most of the major players to develop platforms capable of collecting data from third-party services. This platform links users of the Internet player’s service with developers, merchants and advertisers who want to connect with a wide audience, with varying levels of targeting. It is therefore an essential intermediary tool. To increase interest in their platform, the major Internet players are also keen to offer a part of their infrastructure and devices (Nexus, Kindle Fire) at low costs, despite their relatively premium specifications.

About the Digiworld Yearbook

While digitisation will bring more growth to certain developed markets, the next decade will show a marked decline in linear television revenue in the video sector, and a corresponding increase in new on-demand services. For the incumbent audiovisual operators, their capacity to generate revenue from these new services will dictate whether they can sustain their levels of turnover. They will, for all that, only find growth opportunities in emerging markets.

digiworld yearbook 2013
197 pages that deliver the finest market insights from IDATE experts who track the changes at work in the globe’s telecom, Internet and media industries throughout the year.

the DigiWorld Yearbook is published in English and French and available in print and PDF format. An iPad edition, developed by Forecomm, is also available.

The 2012 edition can be downloaded for free
The 2013 edition is available for purchase. Print: €99.99, incl. VAT; PDF and iPad: €54.99, incl. VAT


  • You can have a look at the digiworld yearbook 2013, purchase it or even download the 2012 version for free at : www.digiworld.org/yearbook/