Beyond phones and 5G, mobile world seeks to reinvent itself

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By Eric Auchard and Sophie Sassard
| FRANKFURT/LONDON

FRANKFURT/LONDON Seeking to escape a cycle of falling prices and tight regulation, big telecom operators from Vimpelcom to Telefonica are set to reinvent themselves as internet players to escape the industry’s straight-jacket of low growth.

Next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will feature phone companies in various stages of acceptance that the industry’s predictable, decades-old business model based on selling data packages by the millions is running out of steam.

Beneath the facade of shiny new phones and dusty debates over network technical implementations, Europe’s largest annual technology fair will see top phone companies┬áparading far-reaching business makeovers.

Spain’s Telefonica is set to introduce a broad plan it calls the “4th Platform” to help both consumer and business customers keep greater control over their data rather than giving it away to web giants Google, Facebook…



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