LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 EUROPE: Leading European operators Orange and Turkcell earmarked 5G as vital for operators to improve their diminishing reputation in technology innovation, arguing that it’s time “to get the hype back”.

Speaking on a panel at M360 Europe in Brussels, ‘Laying the foundations for 5G,’ Orange’s deputy CEO Pierre Louette said deployment of the technology could allow operators to get some of the hype back they used to have in the early 2000s, particularly as the network is thought to accommodate a range of different verticals and the much-hyped growth in IoT.

“When we moved from fixed to mobility it was really hyped, and 5G can give us that back. People are starting to discover all of the possibilities that will be made available, and they realise if we don’t build the networks, who will? Over the top players won’t, they are experimenting with services but it’s not building the networks for people.”

“Embarrassed” by operator apps
Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioglu, on the panel alongside Louette, further talked up the integration of over the top services in messaging and video as a way for operators to develop their offerings, as he blasted the industry for failing to evolve their more basic applications.

“I see a greater role for the telcos as we move towards a new era. Telecoms companies have been criticised a lot over the past decade, but with the evolution of the smartphone, we have become the closest companies to the consumers.”

“We need to now realise what it takes to be relevant to the consumers. Consumers have about 40 applications on their phones which improve their lives, and there are three primitive applications provided by operators: Contacts, SMS, and the phone dialler – I feel embarrassed. There has been no innovation, and we need to refine our purpose in this area.”

Orange’s Louette also eluded to the fact that European operators should now get more credit for lowering prices for consumers, making rates some of the lowest in the world, to help improve their image.

“To be blunt we are different operators now,” he said. “In the past there was not many operators, which meant rising costs to fund investments. Today, consumers do not really pay enough for what they get. People are growing to realise more and more that we are bringing access to something vital, and I think operators are leaner, and more aware of their image, which is not great. It should improve because the job has been done for the consumer.”