Forget About the Device, the Network is the Key
- Without the Network There is No Mobility -
The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is resulting in a greater perception of the value of telecommunications, both by organisations and consumers. This is due to two fundamental reasons. On the one hand, users are discovering new technologies that they until very recently did not pay much attention to, even though operators have been investing in them for over a decade. On the other hand, they realise the resilience that telecommunication networks are showing in a situation of intensive demand, thanks to which they can continue to maintain their economic or professional activity.
In recent years customers in the telecommunications sector have put their expectations of added value in products and applications developed by companies outside the industry itself - such as WhatsApp -, whose dependence on telecommunication networks had gone unnoticed by the end user. However, the reality of confinement has led us to discover other products that we already had available in our homes, and that offer us greater value. An example is audio visual services that help us keeping connected.
Thus, end users are increasingly appreciating the ability to establish their communications using the best connectivity available at any given time, either through mobile data, through their home Wi-Fi or via any other means of communications at their disposal. This is known as the ABC of modern communications: Always Best Connected.
This also causes the perception of the concept of mobility itself to change: It is no longer being seen as the ability to connect with the best connection available only through your mobile device, but as the ability to transfer the load of communications to multiple devices according to your mobility needs of each moment. That’s to say, the end users’ new perception of mobility is no longer associated only with the device connected and starting to be related to the networks behind.
That is an important distinction. Until now, when a voice communication running on 3G was passed to a 4G network in order to improve the user experience, the user associated this only with his or her new device, ignoring that the operator's network was a key part of the service delivery. Now, when we indiscriminately use our mobile phone, tablet, or TV, the key role played by the network behind becomes much more apparent.
Converged Networks And Industry Shakeups
In the initial phase of mobility services, the one important aspect for the end user was not having to remain anchored to a certain location. But this freedom of movement brought with it a dependency on the mobile device. With the advent of converged networks, - capable of integrating voice, data and video services - , users could rely on complementary equipment to their mobile device, and thus enjoy a better user experience. It should be borne in mind that in these networks not only fixed and mobile technologies converge, but also the various generations of mobile network technology. For example, you often hear about F5G as a reference to the new generation of fixed communications that lives up to the levels of the 5G mobile network.
Thanks to the investments that operators are making on an ongoing basis, fundamentally related to the quality of services and their security, the organisations and end users’ perception of the value of communication networks will continue to grow also in the future. The newly announced merger between O2, Telefónica's British subsidiary, with Virgin Media UK, also responds to this perception by creating a large convergent operator. An entity that will be able to drive a cost-effective adoption of the new technologies proposed by companies in this sector.
Miguel Ángel García Matatoros, Managing Director at Blue Telecom Consulting
This article was first published in Spanish in elEconomista.es on May 8, 2020:
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