Operators Opinion

One version of the future: “Facebook will kill the phone as we know it”

Here’s one possible scenario that many people I know in The Valley are betting on. The interesting thing with that area is that they have a habit of forcing their will.

Facebook jumped into an already crowded VoIP market with the update of its Messenger app last week. Robert Gaal, of Karma, says the company’s scale ultimately will allow it to kill off the phone.

via The perfect murder: How Facebook will kill the phone as we know it — Tech News and Analysis.

Although scale is important I think there’s a risk of overestimating the power of Facebook. That’s certainly the case if you take the view that Facebook is this current generation’s MySpace — that is, there’ll be another one along in 5 years. The biggest challenge with the likes of Twitter and Facebook is that they’ve hyper-connected us all. So when the next cool tool arrives, it should theoretically be able to garner adoption — standing on the shoulders of likes and retweets — within days and months, rather than years.

The opportunities for the mobile operator to offer meaningful differentiation are dwindling by the day. With each new successful launch and iteration, I can almost feel the stone towers that built the operators crumbling.

What’s your view of Facebook?

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.

3 replies on “One version of the future: “Facebook will kill the phone as we know it””


There are many developments in the marketplace eroding the traditional operator business case and model. The whole antiquated licensing regime is one big area which will eventually force the transformation.

In the meantime, there are players like Republic wireless, Facebook, MS/Skype, many OTTs eroding the business slowly. Even some carriers are already experimenting proactively on new businessmodels themselves: NTT DOCOMO is particularly interesting to follow (its like the S-class Mercedes of operator industry: look at what kind of new gadgets are being introduced there & rest of the industry will follow, becoming mainstream).

Personally I don’t believe in Facebook being the major disruptor, I would consider them as the dooropener, somebody else will collect the fruits: as you pointed out, new challengers with better value propositions will come.

Why won’t the carriers innovate? I know they have some really, really smart folks working for them. But they always seem to be doing things to kill off an industry (over-charging for SMS), entering an established product line where they can’t compete (app-stores), or wielding a big sword on new products demanding a piece of the action rather then working with those where everyone can split a piece of the pie (premium messaging and mpayments). I really don’t understand their business model…

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