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The Ovum analysts’ expectations from the world’s largest mobile conference


London, UK – February 21, 2017: As all eyes turn to the Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona this month (27 February – 4 March, 2017), Ovum’s analyst team have gathered their views regarding what they expect to see at the world’s largest and most highly regarded mobile industry event {MWC 2017: What to expect – Download the full report here}.


A key theme, which recurs throughout the report is the belief that MWC 2017 will mark a further shift in the evolution of the industry, towards a world where the Internet is everywhere, every ‘thing’ is smart and machines are ever more intelligent. Our analysts also note that the conference seems to be moving ever further away from a purely mobile-focused event towards anything related to the Internet and emerging technologies.


Smart living will perhaps be the biggest overall consumer theme at MWC this year. The concept captures an array of devices and services that will increasingly augment customers’ daily lives – from energy metering to health monitoring, smart cars, fridges and washing machines. Smartness everywhere!


The team also predict a focus on entertainment, enabled by new partnerships across the telecoms, media and technology industries. We expect Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, for example, to address the topic of collaborating with mobile operators in a bid to tackle slowing growth following the online video giant’s landmark global expansion last year.


Our analysts will also turn their attention to the growing spread of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and social communications across devices, networks, platforms and services for both consumers and businesses and the increasingly interesting space between these two converging markets.


Download the report to plan your MWC and get the most out of the conference


Our analysts have reviewed the programs, scanned the press releases and picked apart the speaker session list to bring you the key details and help you get the most out of your six days in Spain. Read the full report for all the detail, but in summary, here’s what our analysts are predicting:


• A turning point for mobile video: Rob Gallagher, Research Director, Consumer Services

Rob sees Netflix, big media brands and other video-streaming providers call for new modes of collaboration with mobile operators. We’ll also learn more about how to improve the quality and economics of live-streaming, 4K UHD, virtual reality and other forms of mobile video.


• Ever more connected things: Alexandra Rehak, Practice Leader, Internet of Things

Alexandra expects to see many new IoT initiatives and business models for both B2B and B2B2C use cases. She will be looking out for the growth of LPWA deployments (particularly NB-IoT), IoT data value propositions, creative IoT managed service offerings designed to ‘make it simple’ for customers, and automotive OEMs’ evolution into technology leaders.


• The smart home is here: Mike Philpott, Practice Leader, Consumer Services

With security and utilities devices expected to drive smart home unit sales to 1.4 billion by 2021. Mike’s looking forward to seeing how mobile will integrate with smart home technology—think mobile apps to regulate your thermostat from wherever you are. There will also be a lot of discussion and announcements around personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, so tune in.


• AI and ‘old’ device brands: Ronan de Renesse, Consumer Technology analyst

Ronan thinks MWC 2017 will be the comeback year for ‘old’ smartphone brands like Blackberry, Motorola, and Nokia to compete with current market leaders. On top of that, he also expects to see a lot of movement in the AI market.


• The rise of chat apps: Pamela Clark-Dickson, Lead Analyst, Communications and Social Networking

Ovum’s research has highlighted the vast size of the chat apps economy, and Pamela is expecting 2017’s MWC to provide more insights into how the market will keep on growing and also begin engaging with AI.


• Virtual reality (VR) will become practical: Paul Jackson, Principal Analyst, Digital Media

Paul expects to see a second wave of VR headsets aimed at improving on the largely mediocre experiences offered by last year’s devices, plus various parties seeking to copy the success Pokemon Go had with augmented reality.


• Payments and retail banking: Kieran Hines, Head of IT Verticals

Payments technology is changing fast, and Kieran looks forward to hearing more about how the ecosystem is improving and deepening.


• Enterprise managed mobile: Adam Holtby, Analyst, Enterprise Mobility and Productivity

Adam expects the MWC crowd will learn more about how intelligent automation and machine learning are evolving apps, and also how enterprise mobility vendors are positioning their capabilities as a key part of the IoT puzzle.


• More intelligent service providers: Kris Szaniawski, Practice Leader, Service Provider Operations & IT

Kris expects to see a big focus on offerings and capabilities that support the shift to digital services and a more agile infrastructure - including analytics, AI, automation, customer experience and security.


• More detail on 5G rollouts and devices: Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Service Provider Technology

With Ovum’s recent forecast that 5G will hit 25 million subscriptions worldwide in 2021. Daryl reckons 2017 is the year we’ll hear more detail from the 5G front-runners and their pre-standard 5G trial and launch plans. That also means you can expect to hear plenty of vendor announcements about commercial ready pre-5G solutions.


• eSIM gets real: Dario Talmesio, Practice Leader, Europe

This time last year Ovum announced that global mobile penetration had reached 100% by the end of 2015, meaning that on average there was one SIM card per person on the planet. This year Dario is looking forward to finding out more about the disappearance of the SIM card as we know it, and explore the options and impact of the rise of the eSIM, after operator-friendly reprogrammable SIM cards hit an important milestone at the end of 2016.


Know which topic you want to learn more about?

Our analysts have put together lists of ‘who to look out for’ in every area of the conference. So whether it’s chat apps, AI or robotics, you’ll get the lowdown on who to see.



Ovum analysts will be at MWC all week ( and will be participating in a number of events detailed below:


Alexandra Rehak, Practice Leader, Internet of Things


Pamela Clark-Dickson, Lead Analyst, Communications and Social Networking


Ovum’s conference wrap-up event—all the best bits you missed

On 7 March, we will be hosting a post-event webinar, in which Rob Gallagher, Research Director, Consumer Services, Daniel Gleeson Lead Analyst, Consumer Technology, Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Service Provider Technology and Alexandra Rehak, Practice Leader, Internet of Things will be providing a wrap-up of the conference and their outlook for 2017.




For more information, or to speak to any of our analysts please contact:

Adam Clarke
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7017 7760
Email Adam


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Ovum is a market-leading research and consulting firm focused on helping digital service providers and their vendor partners thrive in the connected digital economy. Through its 150 analysts worldwide, it offers expert analysis and strategic insight across the IT, telecoms, and media industries. Founded in 1985, Ovum has one of the most experienced analyst teams in the industry and is a respected source of guidance for technology business leaders, CIOs, vendors, service providers, and regulators looking for comprehensive, accurate, and insightful market data, research, and consulting. With 23 offices across six continents, Ovum offers a truly global perspective on technology and media markets and provides thousands of clients with insight including workflow tools, forecasts, surveys, market assessments, technology audits, and opinion.


Ovum is part of the Business Intelligence Division of Informa plc, a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events group listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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