Making Mobile Data Pay

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Strategy+Business writes:

We believe the next big opportunity is in mobile data the digital sounds, pictures, videos, games, and text messages fancied by a burgeoning population of consumers who view their mobile devices as much more than a telephone. Indeed, launching mobile data services to capitalize on the expanding broadband infrastructure is the biggest new business opportunity for the wireless telecom industry since its inception more than a decade ago.

One alternative is to adopt a low-cost, low-risk, lower-growth connectivity model with the objective of increasing the volume of data transmitted over the companys wireless network. Here, the mobile operator focuses on growing traffic, but misses out on opportunities to capture value from the content carried over its network…For [the mobile telecom companies], a higher-cost, higher-risk but higher-value integrated service model makes more sense. With this approach, mobile operators dont simply provide a connection, they position themselves to directly influence and profit from the customers total wireless experience.

In the integrated model, pricing is determined on the basis of the value of content rather than the volume of data transmitted; wireless operators play a much bigger role in packaging, promoting, and selling the content, subscriptions, and services offered by content companies. Operators also work much more closely with handset manufacturers than they have in the past to develop unique new devices designed for the multimedia experience, which can serve to enhance both partners brands. Such partnerships will be crucial to the mobile operators ability to expand revenue streams, grow market share, and make customer relationships more valuable.

Through partnerships, wireless telecom operators can achieve two objectives that improve the customer experience and increase the financial rewards for companies create an integrated service environment and influence handset design.

One company doing work in the mobile data space is Aeroprise, co-founded by Anand Chandrasekaran, who has also been brainstorming with us on the Deeshaa project for rural development. Anand and I met via the blog. I asked Anand to summarise what Aeroprise does:

Three ideas that describe ways Aeroprise is innovating…

  • Focus on problems the enterprise would like to solve today, using wireless devices they already have. Ability to tie wireless usage directly to business benefits and ROI. The application adapter approach makes mobilization a step by step process that’s easy to implement, and the configurability makes sure the mobile application adapts to the changing needs of the user.

  • Glueing the various value propositions seamlessly across the wireless value chain. Enterprise app vendors’ need to present a seamless solution,carriers’ need to generate lower customer churn, and infrastructure providers (wireless browsers, device makers)’ need to have powerfulapplications running on their platforms.

  • Mobility as a new paradigm. Instead of a technology first approach (take the desktop app and cram it down the wireless device!), we’re introducing aend user driven approach to wireless data.

  • One big opportunity in enterprise software will be to link the two worlds of computers and cellphones, providing real-time alerts and access to information for users. Give the proliferation of cellphones across Asia, it is a trend that may find its early adopters here.

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