Monday, November 15, 2010

Speaker Highlight: Deepak Kataria, HCL

I will be an invited panelist representing HCL ERS at Connections Europe 2010 in Amsterdam Europe, participating in a discussion on Mobile Broadband: Devices, Strategies and Consumer Demand. My co-panelists are executives from ALU, Ruckus Wireless, ng Connect, Vidiator and the event is being moderated by President of Park Associates.

This will be an interesting mix of view points from a Tier 1 OEM, a Media Platform Provider, innovative wireless technology provider, a next gen ecosystem player and us a premier system integrator and value-added engineering service provider. This panel discussion is one of several that are being conducted under the broader conference theme of monetizing connectivity and user experiences.

My panel topic is very timely and proposes to discuss tremendous growth of mobile broadband fueled by consumer demand and its impact on device manufacturers, mobile operators, other value chain partners and consumers themselves.

Clearly mobile broadband has taken off in the consumer space. 3G/HSPA and emerging 4G technologies such as LTE are enabling a wide area environment for high speed Internet access. No longer are you required to be tethered to a fixed broadband connection or be connected through a hot spot - LTE promises to enable higher than "DSL-like speeds" anywhere over the air ! The ubiquity of high speed access coupled with the ease of use of mobile devices such as through touch screen, widgets and other innovations fostered by device manufactures has escalated demand for unrestricted 24/7 Internet access.

Capitalizing on this opportunity, device manufacturers have also made a disruptive entry into the service delivery value chain by offering innovative apps and services and which can be downloaded from their app stores for a price. Service delivery from a bring privileged prerogative of the mobile operator until a few years ago, now has fierce competition from likes of:

* iPhone App Store

* Android App Market

* Blackberry App World

* Windows Mobile Marketplace

* Palm App Catalog

* Nokia Ovi Store

Device manufacturers call their devices "SMART" phones since they now control both the device and service side of the delivery chain, relegating the intermediate mobile operator to the role of a bit provider. While the mobile operator has seen a significant increase in traffic volume over their networks and have invested significant capex for base stations and backhaul equipment to support high bandwidth pipes, they are seeing themselves being "disintermediated" from the revenue value chain. The revenues from flat fee unrestricted date usage models for bandwidth access are simply not enough to keep up with declining ARPUs from voice minutes and additional upgrades needed in the network to keep up with traffic growth. Recall the consequences when a major mobile operator in the US underestimated data usage and paid heavy price for meeting performance while a device brand got away with little or no impact.

Our panel will examine how mobile operators can leverage their network resources to drive revenue growth. What type of business models they will have to adopt to sell more value-added services on top of access services ? Who are the value chain partners ? Which data applications will have a broad appeal and help operators differentiate their offerings ?

I plan to present the perspective of HCL ERS which has visibility into these issues by virtue of our work with leading device manufacturers, telecom OEMs, value-added service providers and mobile operators as well as draw upon our initiatives in adjacent vertical industries.

Posted on behalf of HCL.

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