Mobile Operator Pipes

Andreas Constantinou writes:

In the last five years, tier-1 mobile network operators (MNOs) have looked for strategic inspiration in many places, albeit with limited success: at the killer app, the killer brand, the killer supermarket, the killer segmentation, the killer branded handset, the killer content and the killer service. All have been results of the operator-is-king mentality, which followed from the astonishing revenue growth reaped by networks in the early years of mobile. All have come far short of expectations.

My thesis is that operators should re-evaluate their strategies, not in the context of the one-sided market, but in the context of a two-sided market, where value flows both from the left and right of the chain. In other words, rather than continue the one-firm-provides-all strategy, they should adopt a platform strategy, by linking users with content providers and advertisers. They should take lessons from Google, VISA, Microsoft, Shell, Monster and shopping malls. MNOs should focus on extracting value only where they can add value, i.e. through network, handset and retail enablers.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.