MWC2013 – Mobile world congress roundup ..


 I spent the last week at Mobile World Congress.

The 2013 Mobile World Congress ends with more than 72,000 visitors, an 8% increase on last year More than 1,700 participating companies in 94,000 square metres of exhibition space. In my view, the transition from the older venue to the new venue was well managed and GSMA and the city of Barcelona deserves kudos for it

I was speaking / chairing twice -  Speaking at Mobile World Congress – IBM / Worklight – Mobile enterprise event  and At Mobile World congress – chairing – Where the Money Meets the Talent – Mobile Monday – GrowVC – . I was also a part of the @webinosproject

Here is an analysis of what I found interesting – both at the event itself – but also announcements coming from the event.

I track mobility from three perspectives:

-           An analyst

-          An entrepreneur (for my start-up feynabs) and

-          Tech policy discussions.

To see the background for my thinking, please see  2013 trends and How to analyse the industry in a mobile first world? Hence, the view emphasises areas I am tracking (for instance Smart cities).

Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at

Why is mobility significant?

On a personal note, I felt out of place carrying a laptop when @GabbyStern1 and her Wall Street Journal crew record the event on mobile alone!

We are truly in a Mobile First world

  •  No longer do we ask ‘Is this the year of mobile’ – instead global companies like IBM are adopting the Mobile first paradigm  
  • @WSTechUK says – It took 22 years for first 2 billion people to connect to the web – it’ll only take 5 years for next 2
  • GSMA Outlines State of Mobile Industry in New Report – with significant socio-economic contribution. The mobile industry is a major contributor to the global economy. The total mobile ecosystem revenues were US$1.6 trillion, or 2.2 per cent of global GDP. For the period through 2017, the mobile industry will invest US$1.1 trillion in capital expenditure and will contribute US$2.6 trillion to public funding. Importantly, in 2017, companies across the ecosystem will employ nearly 10 million people globally. “The mobile industry’s economic impact reaches far beyond its already-impressive $1.6 trillion in revenues, to boost individual well-being, corporate productivity and government funding,” said Mark Page, leader of A.T. Kearney’s Communications, Media and Technology practice and co-author of the report. “ To access the full report, “The Mobile Economy 2013”, visit
  • GSMA Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey Identifies 30 Million Active Mobile Money Customers Globally in 2012 - The research shows the number of active mobile money users grew impressively; more than 30 million people undertook 224.2 million transactions totalling $4.6 billion during the month of June 2012 alone. “The social impact of mobile money is already well documented, and our report last year offered the first global benchmarks on how many customers were using mobile money,” Rapid Growth, Particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa  Mobile Money Contributing to Financial Inclusion 
    A full copy of the report can be found at:
  • Global operator data revenues to surpass voice by 2018 GSMA claims mobile operator data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 2018, driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
  • Connecting with the next billion consumers was a key theme at MWC13

Mobile first – Three eras of app development – The merging of the web and mobile ecosystems – why have we reached the tipping point now?

I have been tracking the mobile and the Web industries holistically for more than ten years now .. and the key observation has been Mobility will become like the Web – but will complement the Internet and the Web in its unique way.

Apps are the mechanism that unite the two paradigms – the Web and Mobile.

Historically, apps were synonymous with íphone apps and indeed that’ s how the whole app industry started. But today, the conversation has evolved. On one hand, when we speak of apps, we still talk of the cool UI (esp with native apps). But that’ s only a part of the story now. Developers, consumers and CIOs take good UI for granted but they expect more.

I see three stages of maturity (eras) of app development
1) Stage one – Building an app is only the first step 2007 – 2010 era
2) Stage two – Hybrid apps and managing across multiple platforms – 2010 to now ..
3) Stage three – Mobile first – Apps (web, mobile, hybrid) used to extend and transform the business process – 2012 onwards

Stage three is critical for competitiveness and it unites the Web and Mobile paradigms
For example – 5 years ago, the question was – how many devices do you support?
Now the question is
a) How many platforms (iphone blackberry android etc)
b) Then also the security, management, device integration and reach
c) Process change driven by mobility

d) Transformation of consumer behaviour, engagement and consumption(commerce) through mobile – i.e. Mobile first

Business Process change is not just for large enterprises. I use a taxi company which manages the entire user experience in great detail through an app. Stage three (how companies and SMEs manage the business process change through mobile devices) will indeed decide the winners and the losers over the next few years. So, we are in a stage of fundamental transformation which affects all businesses.

Hence, you should read the below from the above disruptive perspective



What can Operators learn from Telefonica?

Telefonica was part of the two most disruptive announcements I have seen. Both are now posted as separate blogs and are a must read IMHO

Implications of the firefox OS announcement for the industry ..

O2 tu-go – truly disruptive because it allows you to take your number out of the phone – I am not a number I am a tag –

What can other Operators learn?

1)      The OTT/Telco debate is in the last decade. It’s time to move on with creative partnerships and acquisitions

2)      Learning from the music industry, newspaper industry and the likes of Kodak – companies which don’t move fast will lose out

3)      Developers are the key stepping stone to the customer because they enable the Long tail (and hence transform your network into a platform)



NFC and mobile payments

It was the year of NFC and there were many announcements related to NFC and the usage of NFC in the show itself. I will post more on NFC in a separate blog


Automotive also featured big time at MWC13

“50% of new cars purchased in 2015 will be connected”, says Francesca Forestiera, director of mAutomotive at @GSMA#MWC2013 #M2M





A chat with @disruptivedean has got me interested in webrtc. Agree with dean that webrtc disruptive

Some links:


Connected city

I spent a lot of time with the connected city demos.

Extending the idea of a ‘connected house’ a connected city is a GSMA initiative featuring a town hall, department store, and apartment to an electrical store, hotel, cafe and lounge, and a car showroom etc


On the radar


If you are in Berlin next week, Meet me at the 3rd FOKUS Media Web Symposium where I am also speaking

Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at @ajitjaokar








Image source:  Mobile World Congress