We all know that there's no such thing as a free lunch, but now it seems that a free beer might come with a price tag too.
"I'm really starting to get tired of big data...the important thing is the right data," said Leroy Blimegger, Huawei's global president of assurance and managed services, at a press briefing in London this week. "[And] the right data is of no use unless you can analyse it and monetise it."
That could mean using the data to predict churn or to drive permission-based marketing. For example, if you know that Manchester United just won a match, which of your customers support Man U, and which of them are in the vicinity of the stadium, you can send a targeted SMS letting them know which bars nearby will give them a free pint upon production of a match ticket.
"People will pay for that," Blimegger said.
That got me thinking about Mobile World Congress, which as we all know kicks off in Barcelona later this month.
We journalists are in the privileged position of being the focus of attention for many of the 17,000 exhibitors at the event. At times it feels like you're fielding meeting requests from every single one of them, including a sizeable number willing to offer their hospitality in return for a space on your calendar. Or put another way, the price of a free pint is usually a trip round someone's stand and a demo that may or may not work.
The show hasn't begun yet and we're already starting to get a feel for what those booth tours will entail.
Everyone's going to be talking about virtualisation. On Wednesday Huawei revealed that NFV (network functions virtualisation) will be a key focus of its R&D efforts over the next five years, as it moves more towards providing software and services than hardware.
Virtualisation is also high on the agenda for Ericsson, which this week issued a raft of product announcements ahead of MWC. In addition to talking up new base station kit, a mobile unified comms offer, and its small cells as a service (SCaaS)