Archive for the ‘Mobile Internet’ Category

What unique assets must Telecom Service Providers use when developing customer value propositions?

April 29, 2010

Many of our recent posts have dealt with different product and service sectors undergoing changes due to the rapid development of mobile and Web-based services.

While many Web-based companies are chasing new opportunities (ex. communication, collaboration, location-based information, music, print media, etc.) by delivering services over-the-top of any Internet connection, the actual telecom network service providers have been slow to follow for many reasons.

Telecom network services providers that wish to become more relevant to end-users’ broader needs must rethink their service strategy and refocus on developing customer-driven value propositions, satisfying particular problems and issues of specific customer groups, while leveraging their unique assets. (more…)

Consumer mobile location services are here to stay

March 18, 2010

Ever since I first used a “find the nearest —–” service, nearly 7 years ago, I have thought that location-based mobile services would change the way we function in our daily lives.

Judging by the current state of the industry, it looks like 2010 may be the year that consumer mobile location services finally take-off.

Why are consumer mobile location services now taking off?

A number of related factors have finally made (more…)

i-Media: coming to any device near you

February 9, 2010

With 2010 now well underway, during the past few weeks there have been several clear sign that the media industry is arriving at an inflection point.

These developments could lead to new opportunities for content publishers and their service partners, and a more engaging experience for media consumers worldwide. (more…)

The Rise of Music-as-a-Service: Hear and Now

November 19, 2009

I have been a passionate lover and collector of music for nearly 30 years, and a lot has changed since the day that I bought my first portable radio and record player, and today, where illegal music downloading continues menacing the industry’s established commercial model. However, through more effective regulation and the arrival of more attractive music offers (See The Economist: Singing a Different Tune), there are fewer and fewer and incentives to obtain music illegally.

The changes in the music industry have enabled listeners to get quicker enjoyment and a much richer experience in a variety of ways. Based on my own listening history – described in detail below – we can see that music has shifted from an album sales-driven business to one focused on receiving a personalized, listening experience.

This fundamental product-to-service shift is changing the way people consume and enjoy music around the world, (more…)

Great mobile Internet at a lower cost

October 28, 2009

Mobile InternetI think that we can safely say that prior to the iPhone, the mobile Internet was far from being a commercial success.

At the same time, service providers worldwide are looking for iPhone alternatives, since these are costly to commercialize. For example, an unlocked 16GB iPhone 3GS cost €559 from Orange France. The same phone with a 2-yr Orange plan starts at €149, suggesting a subsidization of close to €400, roughly 2x the cost for most devices.

This where Android, “the first free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform”,  comes into play. In order to lower the cost to serve customers, while avoiding crazy contract terms (Rogers Wireless of Canada sells iPhones tied to 3-yr plans. Despite this they can’t keep up with demand !!!), and offering more innovation opportunities,  many service providers are looking at such open-source, Internet devices.

In less than a year since T-Mobile delivered the first of these handsets (HTC G1),  11 more have popped-up in over 30 markets worldwide. In the UK, T-Mobile released the Android-Powered Pulse this month, priced at £176.16 (€196) for the pay-as-you-go version, or for FREE with an 18-month agreement costing £27.50 (€30.70)/month. This “Android Boom“, points to the near-term growth of more affordable mobile Internet service usage. However, there are other considerations. (more…)

Communicating: More than just voice

October 21, 2009

HiSpeed internet15  years ago, if we wanted communicate with anyone outside of our sight, we would simply call them by phone. Since then, there has been a phenomenal development of the Web beyond our imagination. This has given us new ways to communicate, share and collaborate with others. This includes sending deferred or real time messages, talking 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, doing so with video or even interactively sharing or collaborating using online media.

While most people still agree that talking is still fundamental for communicating with others, the way most people pay for and use such services has been slow to change. At the same time traditional telecom service providers have a vested interest in maintaining their tried-and-tested models for selling voice communications, and milking their existing assets. However, this will start to change more rapidly as new technology and services becomes more affordable, and the general public becomes increasingly comfortable with its adoptions and usage.

Mobile broadband usage is expected to grow worldwide from 0.3 to 1.4 B users by 2014 (www.economist.com) and ready-to-use Mobile Internet devices, like the iPhone or the Skype-enabled Nokia N900 smartphone  (www.gigaom.com) or even affordable netbooks, are only going to accelerate this phenomenon.

Generally speaking, we will see more attractive alternatives to existing phone services throughout markets worldwide (ex. low-cost or unlimited calling), as well as newer services that include voice and offer further benefits and greater value for some users (ex. Integrated web-to-voice calling, HD conferencing, or virtual online meetings and collaboration). In each of these cases voice will most likely continue to play a key, but non-exclusive role for communicating with others.

Such changes are pushing service providers to recognize voice service as part of greater, more varied, value propositions. If they don’t, new players will continue to do so.

Mobile Social Networking

October 19, 2009

Moto-CliqThe Motorola Cliq seems to be the first compelling, hand-held device (or second if you count the Palm Pre) allowing you to “see your entire social network on one screen.”

It does so by extracting and blending together different bits of information – including social network status, messages, comments, addresses / location, e-mail addresses, websites, IM name, and phone no. -, which are available on the Internet, in your personal agenda and your address book. This is then displayed in a unified way, and can be viewed by person or by specific theme.  Any new information from popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, is updated in real-time.

From this perspective, calling is one of many ways for communicating with your contacts. However, up until now mobile telecom providers still require customers to take out a phone AND data contracts, for a set time period. This traditional approach allows such consumers handsets to be offered at more affordable prices through direct subsidization, while ensuring customer loyalty through the contract period.

At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if/when they will shift positioning to become more of a mobile Web communications providers. In such a case, we can imagine Cliq-based service offers focusing on messaging and/or mobile Internet access, where calling is a pay-as-you-go, optional service. In this instance, device subsidization (if any) could come through any combination of the service provider, sponsorship from the social networks services, through web advertising, or from revenue-sharing of any web transactions.

The Motorola Cliq will be available from T-Mobile US, starting at $199 with a 2-yr calling AND data plan. (See T-Mobile US)

Wireless e-book to expand internationally

October 19, 2009

amazon-kindle-2_1

As an iPhone user who use it for reading periodicals (NY Times, L’Equipe, Yahoo News, etc.), I am convinced of the value of e-books and e-press. With the touch of a botton, I can get the latest news, specialized articles or even the books that I want in less than 60 seconds.

Specialized wireless devices like the Amazon Kindle, which finally become available to non-US consumers today, will continue to fuel the e-book revolution. However, to make such services more relevant and widespread for users, companies like Amazon need to continue pushing for clear and simple service offers.

This should include web access, perhaps with tiered pricing levels. Devices need to include colour screens with multi-lingual support. Finally, to broaden the appeal, we need access to more local-language (i.e. not just English-language) content. As with Apple’s i-Tunes service, this last point will depend on the willingness of large and small publishers and press alike, to offer e-content in ways that benefits the players involved.

As of today, consumers in more than 100 countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa will be able to get a book in 60 seconds thanks to the Amazon Kindle. (See www.amazon.com)

As in the US, Kindle owners benefit from free 3G wireless connectivity for shopping and downloading books from the Kindle Store. Books generally vary in price from US$2 to US$14 per item. Browsing the Internet or accessing other services may be subject to additional fees.

Priced at $279 US (€186 / £170), the Kindle device is still a bit pricey, though on par with other readers such as Sony’s (which doesn’t yet allow over the air downloads). However, judging from Amazon’s service terms (i.e. Amazon reserves the right to discontinue wireless connectivity at any time or to otherwise change the terms for wireless connectivity at any time….), their might be changes in the near future, making it more or less attractive for users. This will probably depend on the actual market demand, the average e-book revenue per customer of course the fees given to mobile service providers in each market for enabling the mobile e-book download service.