Angela Salmeron
Angela Salmeron (Research Director, European Future of Work)

MWC is only a month away and we’re rubbing our hands in excitement making our own predictions about what this year’s event will hold.
Unlike much of the media focus on consumer news and devices, IDC believes this event will bring interesting B2B announcements by leading mobile vendors. This is in fact the new panacea for some, given that their consumer markets are steadily stagnating and is difficult to innovate. Just to illustrate the business opportunity of the B2B markets for these vendors, IDC conducted a mobile device survey across Europe* which revealed the strategic importance of enterprise mobility for most companies today.

iOS is not the apple of employees’ eye in Europe

Whilst Apple tends to be synonymous of enterprise-grade devices, our survey indicates Android is far more deployed (running in 70% of business mobile phones) in Europe. In all countries, except in the UK where iOS reigns, employees prefer an Android device. Samsung is nonetheless the most trusted enterprise Android brand, but others such as Huawei, Google and Motorola are making inroads in their B2B proposition with enhanced security and management capabilities.

It’s fair to say that Android’s commitment to the enterprise environment since the release of Lollipop in 2014 has been a huge driver. Our survey shows that Android’s efforts to build up their security credibility with a multi-layer approach (device, data and apps) is now bearing fruit and gaining the trust of IT departments, who had fallen in love in the past with the Apple brand.

Mobile procurement is costly

With nearly half of European companies paying at least €400 for a new device, it’s not surprising to find out that the most important challenge in procurement is the cost of the device itself. And it’s getting worse. According to our survey, over 1 in 4 companies are planning to increase their budget on mobile device procurement by at least 20% over the next year, with iOS users comparatively bigger spenders.

OEM vendors should be sharping up their knives as the market opportunity is attractive (and this applies to the UK too, despite Brexit boos).

Thumbs down for BYOD and up for DaaS

The adoption of Bring your Own Device (BYOD) schemes have been plateau for a number of years already and is following an irreversible downward trend. Other ownership schemes allowing dual persona, such as CYOD, are also fearing similar fate. We believe GDPR and the current regulatory scrutiny on privacy protection are much to blame. Instead, IT departments seem keen to outsource device ownership to a 3rd party (Device as a Service or DaaS) and the management and security risk involved.  This will certainly be a hot issue for discussion during our meetings with mobile OEMs and Service Providers during MWC.

Telcos need to move up the value chain

Whilst telecoms operators are no.1 reseller of mobile phones, other channels (such as OEMs or independent resellers) follow closely behind, mainly because European enterprises look for flexibility and choice. Furthermore, mobile connectivity is not the top bundling solution with mobile device purchases but endpoint security and damage insurance. The latter is actually much sought after given that only 1 in 5 IT departments can fix devices in-house. If telcos want to be ahead of the game, they need to move up the value chain, and do it seriously.

With GDPR looming, device security is prioritized 

We expect mobile device releases at MWC, or at least the ones targeting business users, to be GDPR-minded. Our survey clearly shows IT departments prioritizing mobile devices with endpoint security, encryption and app security for data loss prevention (DLP) as well as with privacy controls. OEM vendors are already ticking most of the boxes, thanks to the enterprise-grade improvements at the OS level, but more market awareness is needed. We hope MWC to make noise about GDPR. End-user education is paramount in the current threat landscape.

However, it’s not only end-user education that matters. OEMs and service providers need to also understand the importance of updating end-users with new OS upgrades and security patches – why, still today, more than half of companies have to wait at least 1 month for updates? Many mobile devices are unnecessarily exposed to malware attacks and software vulnerabilities.

These and other issues will be hotly debated in our discussions at MWC.

We expect enterprise mobility, and particularly mobile security, to move up in the agenda of IT departments this year, and the industry to wisely capture this market opportunity. MWC should give a good indication of the latter. Stay tuned…

* IDC conducted a Survey on Mobile Device procurement in September 2017 to more than 800 European companies across UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

IDC is hosting this invitation-only luncheon to preview the 2018 Mobile World Congress. Click here to find out more –



If you want to learn more about Enterprise Mobility and related topics, please contact Angela Salmeron.