ABI Research analysts recently returned from Mobile World Congress 2024, and the event was very much a tale of one community divided by a common technology. On one hand, there was very little groundbreaking innovation present. There was little in the way of wow factor moments. This is especially the case for the cellular community present at the show and telcos in particular. Staid, inertia-bound, legacy centric, and “non-needle moving” best characterized most of their announcements and positioning. Instead of focusing on bringing technological innovations to the marketplace, players throughout the entire technology supply chain have shifted their attention to providing solutions that help operators monetize their existing infrastructure, notably 5G. Telcos are faced with the prospect that without successful monetization of 5G, justifying future investments in 6G Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) could prove challenging, potentially leading to further economic stagnation within the telecommunications industry.

On the other hand, the event was abuzz with deal making and getting down to the brass tacks of putting pens to paper. When you look at the location of where those deals are emanating, it is clear to see that the balance of power in the cellular marketplace is moving or has already moved. It has shifted East and West, it has shifted away from the traditional incumbents, and it is being enticed into the hands of disruptors in every facet. Is this where the resurrection of the “fair share” discussion stems?

In summary, the business outlook is improving, there are emerging rifts in the value chain that provide opportunity, and disruption is both possible and happening. The time is now to strike while the iron is hot. As the balance of this paper demonstrates, our team at ABI Research all stand ready to assist our clients as truly independent, informed, and influential advisors.

Download the whitepaper for our full takeaways from MWC 2024.

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