2018 Promises to Be Pivotal Year for Mobile

The mobile industry gets off to a fast start each year, with the world’s biggest mobile industry event, Mobile World Congress, kicking off in Barcelona each February. And for this reason among others, Syniverse hits the ground running in January.

As part of this, each year we define the top trends that we think will be the most important for our customers, business partners, and industry peers over the next 12 months, and I’m pleased to share some of them with you below.

Mobile is now a more vital part of our lives than ever, and Syniverse has been right in the middle of mobile since the dawn of the industry, over 30 years ago. We’re looking forward to keeping our eye on the trends we’ve identified below this year as well as new ones taking shape.

So please take a look at these trends and let me know if you have any impressions on them. I’d love to get your thoughts.

Top Mobile Trends for 2018

  1. Confidence in security for the internet of things (IoT) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) will reach an all-time low, spurring public and private conversations, and definitive action – The rapid proliferation of diverse IoT and IIoT devices and applications that are dependent on the publicly accessible internet will cause unprecedented levels of risk for cyberattacks in 2018. A recent study by Gemalto found that an overwhelming 90 percent of consumers lack confidence in the security of IoT devices. Yet, businesses are still rushing to jump on the connected-devices bandwagon and leaving their commercial transactions and critical data to a public internet that was never intended for that purpose. Until private, secure networks are implemented, business will be exposed to ever more vigorous attacks, and consumers should remain concerned about their information being stolen through their beloved connected devices.
  2. Increases in EU roaming will spur wider global growth – Last summer, Europe abolished intra-regional mobile roaming charges, meaning people from Ireland to Greece can call, text and surf the web without incurring steep charges when traveling across the 28-nation bloc. These “roam like home” regulations have brought about triple-digit percentage growth in roaming traffic within the EU, according to the traffic we see traversing Syniverse’s networks. In 2018, we’ll see European operators pushing new “roam further” options and plans that include worldwide roaming built in as a way to offset home roaming declines.
  3. Brands will make “clean data” a priority – More and more brands will realize that databases are not static, and instead are constant moving targets to keep up with. With over 36 million phone numbers reassigned in the U.S. each year alone, and with regulations in place penalizing companies for delivering unsolicited messages, it’s even more important for companies to recognize the database as a key foundational element of their mobile strategy. As brands realize the need to reach the right mobile number because of security risks and privacy concerns, more brands will implement proactive number verification tools for mobile marketing and mobile engagement.
  4. Brands will diversify their mobile strategies – Without a doubt, the branded mobile app has become a mainstay of mobile marketing across different industries. But recently, stagnant app usage along with the rise of other mobile channels has challenged brands and led many to realize that their mobile marketing strategy can be over-reliant on apps. It isn’t that brands shouldn’t invest in an app, but that consumer usage data shows us it’s not enough on its own. In fact, up to 90 percent of all downloaded apps are used once and then eventually deleted by users. And even when apps are used, they typically don’t drive action, with only 4 percent of consumers saying that they always make a purchase after checking an app for information. Apps also cost upward of $500,000 to create, and they typically require an additional 20 percent of that in upkeep costs annually. In order to effectively engage all its customers with relevant content during their path to purchase, brands will find that it’s crucial to reach beyond their app and weave multiple mobile channels into their customers’ journey. The result can be a seamless, physical and digital experience for customers that drives more successful outcomes for businesses in 2018.


As Group Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy, Michael O’Brien is responsible for driving Syniverse’s global strategic planning, developing new avenues for revenue growth, ensuring synergy across different business organizations, and identifying and managing partnerships. Previously, Mike served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Risk Management and led Syniverse’s global fraud prevention and revenue assurance services, helping service providers control risks related to fraud and security, accurately capture revenues, and prevent revenue leaks. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development and oversaw Syniverse’s acquisitions, new customer relationships and industry relationships. Earlier, Mike was Vice President of Marketing and responsible for management of all products and services globally, and, before that, served in a number of other senior-level positions in the company, including Marketing Director for North American Wireless Services, Product Manager for Network Monitoring and Loyalty Products, Customer Service Manager, and Manager of Network Operations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Virginia.




  1. John Puma

    Hi Michael,

    Nice summary of some key issues the global economy faces regarding mobility and the addiction we all have to mobile Apps’s. I totally agree with your point about how we download apps, many of which we use once and eventually delete. Seems the key for me as to whether I use a app constantly or not is my need/dependence on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I think service related apps that drive purchase like parking apps showing where parking spots are available is a very useful app and it requires that multiple parking lots integrate IOT products showing where spots are available is a very useful and needed app in our cities. I want to say that Singapore had this type of solution over 10 years ago and I understand this is now starting to appear in cities in the US. To your point, if Apps used API’s that promoted integration with multiple parking apps and databases providing more a Universal Parking App – what a great and useful solution that would be for day to day use in our cities. There are companies today that promote App and Database integration, like Cloud Elements out of Denver. This type of technology combined with Apps that find available parking by connecting parking IOT systems would be fantastic.

    Related of course is the emerging 5G cellular data bandwidth to allow for many more IOT applications like the one I’ve just discussed, but also a whole new emerging application category of Augmented Reality. It seems to me that there will never be an end to bandwidth needs humanity will find uses for. More and more IOT, plus Augmented Realtiy apps and services will drive needs for 5G services which I also believe are in the interest of Syniverse.

    Thanks for your article,

    John Puma

    • Michael OBrien

      Your remark on apps is spot-on. The app has been a reliable workhorse of mobile, but app usage has been recently becoming flat, and changing tastes are calling for a new strategy to reach mobile consumers. Among these, we think cross-channel marketing in particular offers a promising approach. By using multiple mobile channels (apps, messaging, mobile wallet elements, etc.), we can enable a more rounded and dynamic mobile experience that can reach consumers through multiple touch points based on their preference or the type of event. We’ve been working with a lot of enterprises to help implement this strategy and have seen increasing success.

      Thanks, too, for your observation on 5G. Mobile traffic is continuing to explode, with the internet of things driving billions of new devices online, and technologies like augmented reality creating new demands for high-capacity networks. These are all making 5G a must. This is an increasing area of focus for Syniverse now, and in fact our resident 5G expert just published a blog post on 5G at the Winter Olympics (https://synergy.syniverse.com/2018/02/5g_winter_olympics/) and on five factors critical to 5G development this year (https://synergy.syniverse.com/2018/02/5g_outlook_2018/) that I urge you to check out.

      This year will be a big one for mobile for sure, and I look forward to sharing more observations on them here soon. Thanks again for reading.


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