Comment: Getting ready for 2015

Operators are set to start their new plans for 2015
Maria Gonzalez is editor at CommsMEA.
Maria Gonzalez is editor at CommsMEA.

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The year 2014 is coming to an end and new trends are already predicted to bring new innovations to the telecommunications sector during 2015. The unrealised potential of new technology is still there to be found and the industry is continuously unveiling new capabilities.

The telecommunications sector plays an essential role in the development of many other competencies and provides a platform for technology-based innovation to come to the fore.

This year, operators have been trying to consolidate adjacent markets to help them to grow different revenue streams, but, besides a few exceptions, it has not happened in the Middle East and Africa, according to analysts.

During 2014, the global challenge brought by OTT players, has not been solved yet. An industry position is needed to include these companies in the business model to promote partnerships and create a better situation in the market, as content developers are generating more revenues from less upfront investment that the telecoms operators can make, while operators revenues are being cut by the services offered by OTT players.

During the World Economic Forum on Global Agenda hosted in Dubai, some members of the Future of Telecoms Council gathered to work on an initial brainstorming on the need for a new business model. The topics discussed by the members included privacy and security in a post-Snowden world and enabling the next wave of technology.

As the industry is stepping into 2015, CommsMEA has worked on a Tech Review in which we have included the coming trends that some key players in the region are predicting for the Middle East and African telecommunications sector.

Business services and ICT are only two of the opportunities that experts commented on the feature. The interviewees also call for regulators’ assistance, as they play a significant role, as they provide the environment that can promote improvement and encourage more investment.

Peter Lyons, head of Middle East and Africa at GSMA, stressed the importance of the role of regulators during an interview with CommsMEA Lyons noted that the government should present a roadmap for the telecommunications sector to help operators to plan their investments and optimise how they spend their money in the country.

“To improve affordability, there are some things that the industry and the government can do together. They have to work to get harmonised spectrum to mobile broadband, in particular the 700MHz spectrum,” he said during the interview.

Lyons also commented that the GSMA recommends governments to think of the medium term, not necessarily the long term, when it comes to spectrum and taxes.

“They [governments] shouldn’t be looking at taxes as revenues, they should look at the final growth that will be translated into GDP,” he said.

During this month’s edition, we have also interviewed Ulaiyan Al Wetaid, CEO at VIVA Bahrain, who talked about the B2B market plans of the company, and with Sheik Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO at Ooredoo Qatar, who discussed the opportunities that 4G brings to Qatar.

This month issue also includes a feature on satellite services, stressing their role to connect rural and remote areas, common in the Middle East and Africa region, where some places do not enjoy the connectivity that big cities have in the region.

We have also worked on a review of the IPTV business, an opportunity which some operators, mainly those with a stable national broadband environment, have embraced to deliver additional revenue streams and improved experience for customers.

Maria Gonzalez is editor at CommsMEA.

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