Asian telcos ahead of European and US counterparts in innovation, finds ABI Research


Asian telcos emerge as the leaders of innovation in the telecommunication field leaving behind their European and US counterparts, says ABI Research’s “Telco Innovation Benchmark: Winners and Losers in the Race to Future Revenues” report.

Asian telcos are followed by the US Tier Ones – AT&T and Verizon, while the Europeans – DT, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone – are far behind China Mobile, NTT Docomo, Softbank and KDDI. It is to be noted that the highest score in the leaderboard goes to China Mobile and NTT Docomo.

The study which highlighted the winners and laggards in telco innovation, evaluated several factors including R&D expenditure, patent portfolios, standards contributions and acquisitions to meticulously gauge innovation efforts for the leading-20 global operators list.

Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research, said: “Asian telcos – namely NTT Docomo and China Mobile – have the highest scores across the board, indicating they are investing for the long-term and understand that 5G will require expertise outside their traditional connectivity domain.”

A critical aspect of NTT Docomo and China Mobile, as pointed out by ABI Research, is that they are expanding their efforts to develop, acquire and invest in UnTelco areas. UnTelcos are defined as business opportunities beyond connectivity, where operators focus to address enterprise verticals and emerge as something more than just connectivity providers. For instance, among the recent patent holdings of NTT Docomo, 20% are in the non-connectivity domain and China Mobile is enhancing its efforts to acquire UnTelco patents.

Elsewhere, Ooredoo Group is beginning its maiden 5G journey in home market Qatar. The network is live in Qatar with 2.3 Gbps speeds and 3.5 ms latency. Ooredoo will continue to expand its 5G footprint by using Ooredoo 5G spectrum at 3.5 GHz.

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