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What telecoms has in store in 2011

27 декабря 2010

We see Europe's big guns continuing their push into emerging markets, mixed fortunes for tablet makers, and operators further diversifying into new verticals.

At this time of year the Total Telecom team takes the opportunity to look ahead to what 2011 has in store for the telecoms industry.

Emerging opportunities

France Telecom will continue its strategy of emerging market acquisitions. Its current focus lies in Africa and the Middle East, but we know it's also open to opportunities in Asia, and is eyeing Serbia's state-owned fixed-line provider Telekom Srbija. Expect France Telecom to increase its footprint by at least three more markets in 2011.

Telefonica will go from strength to strength in Latin America in 2011 in the wake of its acquisition of Portugal Telecom's stake in Vivo, but the newly-restructured America Movil will provide a formidable competitor.

Expect to see more from Huawei in 2011 as the Chinese vendor builds on its presence in Europe backed by a high-profile marketing push, with a view to winning some LTE network deals further down the line. Ericsson will play down the ramp-up in rivalry, Nokia Siemens will do everything it can to keep up with both of them.

New frontiers

M2M will see plenty of coverage in 2011, but industry observers could become frustrated at the lack of clearly-defined business models.

Mobile operators will continue to diversify into new verticals. 2011 will be the year of m-health services. Mobile payment and mobile financial services will also grow.

We haven't seen the last of the cloud computing hype by any stretch. Operators will ramp up their cloud marketing activities as they look to court both big enterprises and SMEs.

Will 2011 finally be the year when the word 'femtocell' becomes part of the consumer lexicon? Probably not, but shipments of femtocells with consumer-friendly names along similar lines to Vodafone's Sure Signal will slowly but surely rise, boosted by ongoing adoption of smartphones and mobile broadband dongles.

Spectrum sparring

In India there will be a raft of 3G network sharing deals as operators scramble to offer nationwide coverage. Will this pave the way for full-blown market consolidation? Probably not.

The scandal surrounding mobile spectrum allocation in India will continue to fill column inches well into 2011. More heads will roll.

Thailand will fail to sell off 3G spectrum. The formation of a new regulator to manage the process will take much longer than expected.

Revisited rivalries

We will see a return to the 'cold war' between Telenor and Vimpelcom, stemming from the Norwegian operator's objections to the Weather Investments deal.

EU telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes will regain her moniker 'Steely Neelie' when she takes on operators with plans to further lower mobile roaming charges, much like her predecessor Viviane Reding.

In the U.S., the FCC will have a tough time trying to push through its net neutrality proposals – expect a lot of Republican outrage and for nothing to be fully resolved by the end of the year.

Social engineering

Google embarked on another shopping spree in the second half of 2010. This could spark a fresh wave of investor concern in 2011 if the Internet giant doesn't have any end products to show for its free-spending ways. On a related note, there will be more pressure on Google to go beyond search in 2011 as discovering things on the Internet continues to become more social.

Facebook will continue to pursue its strategy of becoming consumers' starting point on the Internet with more user interface tweaks.

Device strategies

Nokia's first MeeGo device will all but sound the death knell for Symbian in the smartphone segment as connected devices become more and more powerful.

Despite continued chatter about overcrowding in the smartphone OS market, we won't see any consolidation during 2011.

Rumours will abound that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will consider adopting a multi-platform smartphone strategy if MeeGo doesn't take off and the company's high-end market share continues to decline. It still has a long way to fall though, so it's likely to continue to push its own operating systems.

Apple will update the iPad. It will be thinner, more powerful with a longer-lasting battery, a camera, and 3G connectivity as standard, but it still won't include a USB port. Meanwhile we'll see a steady flow of new Android tablets.

However, a raft of new devices does not necessarily mean end-user take-up will be as stellar as many are predicting. Consumers will bide their time when it comes to selecting which pricey tablet to plump for, with the exception of Apple fans. So while iPad sales continue to grow, other manufacturers could be disappointed with their sales figures. Steve Jobs won't pass on the opportunity to take pot shots at his rivals.

Cisco will be upbeat on the uptake of its Umi home telepresence offering, but the vast majority of consumers will still favour cheap video-calling alternatives from the likes of Skype and Apple FaceTime.

And finally…

Certain telecoms journalists will be incandescent with rage as the industry persists in its misuse of the term '4G'. However, most people will ultimately succumb to the power of marketing and by the end of the year everyone will refer to LTE and WiMAX as 4G.

Источник: Total Telecom

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