Mobile World Congress, for me, has always been a combination of looking forward towards our future while at the same time reflecting on the massive changes I’ve seen in this industry. I mean, years ago, who would have thought that Microsoft today would be both a large service provider and an enterprise PBX behemoth via Skype for Business / Lync? (And I remember when Microsoft insisted Lync or whatever they called it back then was NOT a PBX.) More recently we’ve seen Facebook and Amazon respectively become huge movers and shakers. I saw it all in full force at MWC.
Facebook has always used MWC to drive its agenda. These days, Facebook is driving the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) that, according to the TIP Website, is “an engineering-focus initiative driven by operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies that aim to reimagine the traditional approach to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure.” I bet half of those working on the project see opportunities while the other half are scared. Either way, it’s likely that Facebook will succeed in driving some software-based telecom infrastructure that is likely to have a large open source component.
Regarding Amazon, the whole telecom world wants to run their apps and/or infrastructure on Amazon ECs. I recently watched an Andy Jassy (CEO of Amazon Web Services) keynote from the Amazon reInvent conference in November and noticed that it’s a $13B revenue run rate business with 55% YoY growth. That kind of growth from that size of a company! Wow! If you didn’t think cloud computing was important, or didn’t think the move from customer premise equipment to the cloud was a trend, think again! And while Amazon Web Services had no presence at Mobile World Congress, their cloud was floating around everywhere, with many telecom services running on it.
Telecom is alive.