BICS is in Shanghai this week for the APAC edition of Mobile World Congress. Asia – and China in particular – is fuelling innovation in the mobile space, making MWC Shanghai a must-attend for the industry’s movers and shakers.
Innovation is required in a region which is pioneering 5G trials and will likely be one of the first to commercially deploy the standard. Innovation is also needed to support the current demand for connectivity: BICS’ latest research reveals a 200% year-on-year increase in LTE (4G traffic) in APAC during 2017, with incoming traffic increasing an incredible 270% compared with the previous year.
BICS is a global company with a global outlook, so APAC is naturally a key focus area for us, with our work here supported by a satellite office in Beijing. More than half of the world’s mobile subscribers live in Asia Pacific – mostly in China and India – with the growth in data use predicted to drive revenues and operator investments in the coming years. SIM card connections in the region are expected to hit 5.1 billion in 2020, but it’s not only human subscribers which will require connectivity. Industries from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and utilities will seize the opportunities a more connected world will offer, embedding sensors and SIMS to all manner of ‘things.’
However, for the IoT’s full potential to be realised, neither devices nor people should be limited by borders. Being able to seamlessly connect, wherever they are in the world, empowers businesses and consumers. It enables device manufacturers to ship anywhere in the world, connected cars to drive between countries and travellers to make full use of their devices when abroad. It’s for these reasons that we at BICS believe that global connectivity provides the key to unlocking the benefits of the IoT.
We announced last year that China Unicom Global –the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base – is among the operators using BICS Instant Roaming Hub to deliver high-quality connectivity to its customers, wherever they are in the world. Hosted on our global network infrastructure, the Hub offers worldwide roaming coverage and immediate access to mobile networks across the globe without any investment from China Unicom.
Our research has shown the speed at which LTE traffic in APAC is growing, and roaming traffic is a key component of this. The diversity of industries, applications and attendants at MWC Shanghai suggests that growth in global mobile roaming traffic will continue. This makes BICS’ approach to straightforward, seamless and cost-effective global connectivity all the more important.
BICS’ recent findings show how, at the start of this year, visitors from Western Europe to Asia made up the largest percentage of inbound roamers, with the area also being the most popular for data roaming travellers from Asia. Visitors to the Shanghai this week – BICS included – will contribute to this number, as device users take advantage of the almost-ubiquitous connectivity.
MWC Shanghai aims to represent the entire mobile and technology ecosystem, covering areas including AI, automotive, devices and the IoT, with the show being separated into eight core themes which reflect the way in the which ‘telecoms’ has expanded into different vertical industries. We’ve done the same at BICS, and visitors to our stand are able to see the how the range of solutions we now offer – from traditional voice and data, to crowdsourced fraud prevention and cloud communications – benefit a wide range of industries.
At MWC Shanghai and beyond, we’ll continue to forge and sustain APAC/Europe relationships which will help deliver essential communications services, whether domestic or roaming, at home or away.