The carrier-as-a-service business model – white paper

I spent a good bit of time this afternoon reading through the latest white paper from the Amdocs Interactive team. It focuses on the issue of mobile operators reasserting themselves in the off-portal market and goes on to estimate that the industry could generate 50% more revenues if operators followed the findings listed.

The main thrust of the white paper explains that operators should deliver open access to their network services to ‘foster more innovation’. Indeed, the paper outlines more or less everything I have a problem with when it comes to mobile operators. Will we see any operators offering network API access free of charge (or on a freemium model)? I hope so. But I won’t be holding my breath this year.

Here are the paper’s conclusions:

> Open access to network services to foster more innovation, while implementing policy enforcement to ensure network integrity.
> Promote off-portal discovery services (e.g.banners,recommendations and positioning in the search engine) more aggressively to emphasize the value of their portals.
> Offer targeted marketing as a service to third parities – essentially outbound advertising.
> Automate all operational activities (e.g. partner on-boarding, settlements) to speed time to market and reduce overhead.
> Be open to offering network APIs free, while perhaps charging fees for more bandwidth intensive services such as higher throughput messaging and location. “Freemium” business models may be another way to offset costs.
> Offer off-portal merchants more flexibility to create their own offers and support any price point and business model.
> Improve visibility into transactional data in order to minimize refunds and resolve partner reconciliation issues.

In the world of the operator, there’s another — what — year and a half to go before operators recognise that Android and iPhone customers treat them simply as a dirty great pipe. In the West, where the mobile customer population is more reasonably constant, that’s a real, real issue. Just as an example — and I know I’m an exception — I’ve being paying £35/month for my iPhone for the last 6-months — £210 in total. Allow for a little bit of international data roaming, let’s say I’ve paid my operator £300 for the 6-months.

I estimate I spent around £80-90 a month with Apple. On their apps, on their music, audiobooks, films and of course, television programs. I think that’s about accurate. Total that up and it comes to £480.

Total spend on my iPhone in 6 months: £780.

Percentage that the mobile operator saw: 38%

That is not good, given the fact they’re still acting as the bank and ‘financing’ (sorry, ‘subsidising’) my iPhone.

What to do? Well, I like the ideas and points made in the Amdocs white paper. I trust some operators will be reading it and taking some action…

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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