More consolidations seen next year

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IF 2013 was a year of mergers among service providers, next year will be marked by industry consolidations to ensure efficiency and growth.

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This fearless forecast was made by Michael Harris, Amdocs director for market insight and strategy, saying that “going solo” which marked businesses of recent history will now be completely a thing of the past.

Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience systems and services, said that the wave of consolidations would continue for the whole of 2014 across regions.

“Service providers will continue to merge to rationalize their businesses and to ensure growth and efficiency,” Harris said.

Pressure from market saturation, increased competition, the search for new growth engines, and economic conditions are driving service providers to rationalize their business and to consolidate.

In the first half of 2013, mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals worth around +60 billion were announced in Europe’s telecommunications market, almost double the volume in the same period last year, and further growth of M&A deals are seen in 2014.

Harris said that another trend to watch out for is “Big Data,” or that which exceeds the capacity or capability of current or conventional methods and systems. Big data will play a role in 2014, with service providers shifting toward realizing their value and using it to help with internal and external data monetization.

This will also allow for a more seamless customer experience, where consumers can expect a more personalized service such as sending proactive alerts to customers when they’re reaching data limits or offering deals by partnering with their favorite retailer, Harris added.

Networks will still be a huge player in 2014. Service providers will make the shift from Long-Term Evolution (LTE) roll-outs to monetizing and optimizing their major network investments.

They will combine efficient deployment with innovative pricing strategies and a rich portfolio of services. This was something seen in 2013 with Vodafone offering access to Sky Sports TV or Spotify Premium.

Service providers will focus more on deployments of small cells, WiFi offload and leveraging SON (self-optimizing network) technologies to optimizing their network investments.

Finally, 5G (fifth generation) is the new 4G (fourth generation). 4G/LTE was successfully rolled out in many countries in 2013 and will continue its rapid growth in 2014. Service providers are focusing on optimization and monetization of their new networks as the development of a standard for 5G is heating up, as trials have already started.

Other growth areas and trends include omni-channel experience, growth of wearable devices, mobile financial services, next generation TV experience, and virtualization.

Harris said that great opportunities will abound in 2014 but so would mergers and acquisitions, as the industry continues to evolve and service providers consolidate to embrace new challenges. Be ready for an exciting year ahead, he concluded.

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