Chinese kit maker believes video will account for 50% of mobile revenues by 2020.

Huawei’s deputy chairman and rotating CEO Eric Xu on Tuesday said video represents a $1 trillion revenue opportunity for telcos.

Entertainment video will account for the lion’s share – a whopping $650 billion – he said in a keynote presentation at Mobile World Congress. Industry video – which covers things like surveillance, commerce and educational, among others – will account for $350 billion. Finally, communications video – such as video conferencing, video messaging and unified communications – will be worth $18 billion, he predicted.

"Video is not optional, it’s a must. It is redefining telecoms," Xu said.

He predicted that video will account for 50% of global mobile revenues by 2020, compared to 25% in 2016.

In order for telcos to have a fighting chance of capitalising on this opportunity, they must position themselves as a one-stop-shop for the broadest possible range of video content, Xu said. That means they must partner with content producers and content aggregators, as well as take on the role of billing the end user for accessing all that content. It would be like paying once for watching HBO, Netflix and ESPN, for instance. However, this requires the video industry to change the way they bring their content to market, he said.

Telcos must also change the way they sell data access, Xu said. Instead of concentrating on throughput and data allowance, he suggested they might consider pitching services in terms of picture quality. So, an entry-level tariff might offer standard definition content, while a range-topping tariff would offer 4K. Of course, telcos must ensure that their networks are capable of actually delivering what the price plans promise, he said.

If they pull this off, "telcos have a chance to provide that single point of entry" for every video service, Xu said.

Unsurprisingly, Huawei sees a role for itself as enabling telcos to make the most of video.

The company has six focus areas when it comes to telco video: consulting; content aggregation; cloud video platforms; semiconductors and middleware; end-to-end networks; and planning, design, integration, and experience management services.

"Huawei wants to be the enabler for telcos to be successful in video," he said.