Friday, December 4, 2009

Operators' choice - "dumb pipe" versus "innovation"

In need to make a comment to my previous blog post. Operators have really yet another option for participating in the app stores business. They can simply position themselves as "tool booths" demanding a cut from app stores for all paid apps downloaded by their customers.

"One would think that the phone companies would be trying to innovate; for example, offering customers value that complements the paid apps. Instead they company is trying to tax the innovation of others." says Mike Masnick commenting on
Australian mobile operator Optus blocking Android paid apps.

Of course operators who invest hundreds of millions in advanced broadband access technologies have a right to participate in the "digital economy" they enable. They constantly fear that they will not be able to fully monetize their investments as their customers will go over-the-top degrading them to "dumb pipes".

However, the choice is not "dumb pipe" versus "toll booth". The choice is "dumb pipe" versus "innovation". I will try to tell you more about this in my next blog post.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What MNOs can do about app stores?

Two months ago, Apple announced more than 2 billion application downloads since its App Store launch. Over this time, the store has grown to an impressive number of 100.000 apps. Apple’s success has not gone unnoticed. Nokia, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Google, Microsoft, and other smartphone vendors have started to launch similar services for their users leveraging their brands and platform ownership.

The main question remains whether MNOs and MVNOs can bite into the app store business, or they will be out of game with their customers going over the top? Tier 1 MNOs will certainly snap up the opportunity to offer their own app stores. Vodafone, Orange, Verizon, Sprint, Telefonica and several other have already launched their stores. However, with Apple as a clear leader and many alternative stores, this market segment has become really crowded.

We will probably observe several different strategies and business models here:

  • Tier 1 MNOs will certainly try to launch their own app stores. The main challenge for will be to attract developers and create a differentiating portfolio apps.
  • Tier 2/3 will follow up by either licensing third party app stores such as Handango or GetJar or/and aggregating applications already offered by handset vendors.
  • MNOs from emerging markets will most probably ignore app stores for the moment as the penetration of high-end smartphones is very low there.
You can read more about app store strategies for MNOs in TM Forum Report "Evolving SDPs - Essential Plumbing for Smart Pipes"

Monday, November 30, 2009

What's next in the world of communications?

Hi Telcom Experts!

I have spent the last 15 years of my professional life building companies that created software products for Telecom market. After selling my last startup, Appium, in 2007, I have been working as market analyst in the area of mobile Service Delivery Platforms. I have made an extensive research in this space, talked to all leading vendors and services providers and produced a number of (great) market reports and papers.

I have started this blog to share with you my opinions, information and knowledge in this space. You can already now go and explore my info profile:

So ... let's start first thing tomorrow!