‘The BT/EE merger will generate a cultural change that will force operators to find new ways to differentiate,’ AdaptiveMobile’s chief strategic officer has told Mobile.
‘In the UK the biggest challenge is going to be the mergers,’ said Simeon Coney, ‘that’s really going to shake up the market. With the pending merger of EE and BT, those are two quite different networks and that’s going to generate a quad play first approach, but it will be more of a cultural change. It will bring together different network types to single offering for connectivity as well as different services and then different verticals.
‘I see BT changing from a network-facing business to a customer-facing business, and there is a need for consistency across those different networks. They’ve got very different infrastructures and customers will have an expectation – that’s an obligation at which we will start to see the merged business take a closer look.'
AdaptiveMobile provides security solutions for mobile networks, deploying its own technology alongside mobile infrastructure to ‘protect transactions as it flows through’. Coney believes that this type of enhanced security can save ‘tens of millions of pounds’ in lost operator revenue, claiming that many MNOs are unaware of external network misuse.
‘It’s about MNOs protecting their brand and their relationship with customers, and they have a reason to do that. Operators can face revenue losses through misuse of their own network and quite often operators are unaware of this. Sometimes it’s a matter of priorities or desire to do something about it – they’re facing pressures on many fronts so sometimes they choose to look at other areas first.
‘All aspects of security are becoming front page news – it used to be niche industry news, but now pretty much every week there is a major article about a security issue. We find that once an operator has deployed our platform into the network then there’s a range of additional values and benefits they can get. This can involve taking cost out of business or delivering differentiated value-added services to customers.’
The issue of security is one that Coney believes MNOs can, and should, use to their advantage. As the market comes under pressure from pending mergers, an enhanced in-built security solution is a ‘significant opportunity’ for MNOs looking to diversify even further in the market, something that he feels Vodafone will be forced to do in the coming year.
‘The mergers will mean interesting decisions for Vodafone. It will be the smallest of the three operators in the UK so for it, the question will be how it will start to differentiate. If it increases or maintains focus in the corporate market that will demand greater levels of flexibility, or else it will face a price race to the bottom and will have to innovate on services. One of the areas where this could happen is through security. The top two enterprise concerns are mobility and security.
‘We have a solution that enables operators to offer a large range of security options and there’s a significant opportunity for MNOs to differentiate themselves and their brand with these services. Looking at the next year, the big change that will take effect in the US will be the Apple upgrade programme, and that will really change the way consumers interact with networks.
Why would they go into an operator store if they’re paying Apple? So there is the opportunity and driver for operators to start looking more at services unique to them and their brand, rather than the devices that they’re supplying.'