Barcelona's New Battleground

12:35 PM -- Incredibly, it's only a few weeks until Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where tens of thousands of visitors will run the annual pickpocket gauntlet of the city's subway system in order to be bombarded with the latest on Long Term Evolution (LTE), smartphones, operating systems, apps, the mobile cloud and so on.

This year, though, I think we can expect to hear a lot more about the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) technologies the world's mobile operators need to keep their systems and businesses running as smoothly as possible, with a lot of the noise coming from two of the sector's biggest hitters, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks . And both will undoubtedly be highlighting the same thing -- how they can help service providers improve their customer experience management (CEM) strategies.

Why? Well, Ericsson has just closed the $1.15 billion acquisition of Telcordia Technologies Inc. , a deal that gives it a wide range of additional OSS (service assurance/fulfillment and network optimization), BSS (real-time charging) and service delivery platform (SDP) capabilities that it will want to shout about. (See Ericsson Closes Telcordia Acquisition, Ericsson's SPIT Vision, Ericsson + Telcordia: What the Analysts Say and Why Ericsson Wants Telcordia .)

In particular, Ericsson noted that "OSS and BSS are key to drive the customer experience. ... All in all, these systems are crucial to create the experience users expect in a cost efficient manner."

Meanwhile, archrival NSN will be going to Barcelona with its new strategy that focuses on three key elements for the show's attendees -- mobile broadband, global services and CEM. NSN has something of a head start, having been focused on CEM for a while and claiming to be working with 270 service providers on CEM projects already. (See Analysts: NSN Focus Makes Sense and NSN Gives Facebook a New Status.)

There's always a lot of noise at the Barcelona show but expect these two vendors, along with a number of others, to be cranking the CEM volume levels up to 11 this year. (See CEM Set for Center Stage.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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