12/16/2010 12:02:00 PM
Apple embedded Sim is ‘a wake up call’
Apple’s threat to develop an embedded iPhone Sim is a wake up call to operators, signalling the increasing retail power of handset manufacturers and the need for operators to develop other forms of revenue outside of retail.
The warning comes from Andrew Bud, global chair of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF).
Speaking to Mobile this week, Bud said operators must create new revenue streams by developing enabling services to content and service providers such as Facebook and the BBC.
He added: ‘Apple may have backed down for now but the genie is out of the bottle as far as the growing retail power of the manufacturers is concerned.
‘Operators must look harder to generate new value from their network. They have to expand their strategic revenue base from handsets and services to include smart enablers.’
MEF defines smart enablers as services such as payforit, which “enable” a third party to create, deliver and bill for their mobile content or services. These enabling services include bulk SMS, premium billing capability, shortcode number rental and location lookups.
Bud said: ‘Operators have exclusive visibility and control over a lot of stuff – this information is very valuable to third parties such as Amazon or Facebook and operators can sell that knowledge and control to them.’
However, Bud conceded that not all operators are up to speed on smart enablers.
He said: ‘Operators are fundamentally retail-focused organisations, their heart and soul lies in selling handsets and services to consumers. Smart enablers are wholesale b2b offerings and lie outside their traditional zone of enthusiasm.’
He added: ‘Some operators such as Vodafone and O2 really get it and are driving forward with dedicated teams, but others are behind the curve and need to give much more focus to smart enablers. Apple’s threat to create an embedded Sim is a real wake up call to them.’
Apple, Google and Facebook ‘could pay running costs’
European telecoms companies want Apple, Google and Facebook to pay towards the running and maintenance of their networks.
France Telecom’s Stephane Richard said: ‘Service providers are flooding networks with no incentive [to limit bandwidth]. It’s necessary to put in place a system of payments by service providers as a function of their use.’
His comments follow similar calls from other operators including Vodafone and Telecom Italia and come hot on the heels of Apple’s threat to develop an embedded Sim for its next iPhone to bypass network controls.
However, Benoit Schillings, chief technology officer at Myriad Group, warned this week that the likes of Apple and Google could take the fight over bandwidth back to the operators by buying a major network operator.