Cellular is a global industry worth around US$960bn annually, and growing at 14%year-on-year; 93% of the world’s population has a mobile phone, making it one of the most widely adopted technologies in human history.
Cellular services are largely self-regulated by mobile network operators – MNO’s – (think AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, DoCoMo, etc.) who have dominated the landscape since former Motorola vice president Martin Cooper changed the world when he made the first cell phone call 40 years ago while standing in front of the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue on the company’s DynaTAC phone. Self-righteously he was calling the head of research at Bell Labs, a company that was also attempting to build the first cell phone!
However, today the MNO’s are facing a new challenge. As the primary use of cellular devices moves from speech to data (the fastest growing mobile segment with the developments of M2M, Internet-of-Things, mobile apps, etc.) the competition is growing and the charge-per-megabyte is falling. This means MNO’s are facing increasing price pressure and disintermediation (a noun meaning a reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers). This is driving the MNO’s to seek to provide new services.
The financial stresses are exacerbated because MNO’s are faced with the need to continually invest in new infrastructure, for example migration from 2G to 3G, then to LTE (4G) and now development of 5G.
The business models for the major MNO’s need to change if they are to abate revenue erosion. This will inevitably mean the MNO’s will increasingly offer mobile services and applications, such as:
- Mobile payments and financial services
- Mobile medical services
- News and media dissemination
- TV and film via Online Video Distribution
- Location-based services
- Logistics and tracking
- Cloud-based software as a service
- Internet of Things
- Wearable technology
- Mobile gaming
Keeping in mind the migration of mobile networks from offering simply a communications conduit to becoming an applications services provider, and given the ubiquity of cellular technology, it’s not easy to keep in the form. To see our range of cellular services – Click here.