Research Notes

Applications based mobile suppliers – Will they dominate the mobile market?

There is currently an ever increasing desire for more mobility from both private and corporate customers. The desire for increased mobility is resulting in a number of new opportunities for mobile providers and application developers to convert various types of traditionally “immobile” solutions to mobile solutions, allowing users of these applications to access the applications anywhere and at any time.

This development is interesting for both private and corporate customers and also allows mobile providers to differentiate themselves from their competitors on the mobile applications they are developing and selling. Currently, corporate applications are often being developed in close cooperation between a company that has specialised in developing mobile solutions – or an integrator – and the company that wants the mobile solution. For mobile providers the challenge is to therefore become a part of this value chain by being the sales channel for different types of application developers and thereby being able to offer consumers more than just traditional telephony.

One of the application developers that has understood the necessity of adapting to the new market conditions is Spring Wireless in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Portugal, that is – regardless of which type of wireless network is being used – offering access to a wide range of mobile business applications. Their business applications can therefore function on many different types of mobile networks (CDMA, GSM and CDMA), across different MNOs and additionally over WiFi. This ensures that the applications will always function in a mobile environment, but also give the extra possibility for accessing the applications when consumers are within their company’s WiFi network.

But the applications do require a mobile network to function and one probable scenario will be that some application developers launch as mobile providers themselves. This will put them in a much better position to offer integrated solutions, where customers purchase a packaged offering consisting of both the mobile application and mobile access. This will also make the solution easier to market, especially as the customer can receive one total price for the whole package and additionally maybe have the possibility to choose a flat rate payment scheme.

It is however important to point out that it is not necessary to launch as a mobile provider to be able to offer flat rate tariffs. A few (visionary) mobile operators are already choosing to sell wholesale data traffic to content and application developers, allowing them to package mobile data access together with their application or content. This approach will without a doubt become more widespread as consumer demand increases for these types of applications.

But if they do choose to launch has mobile providers, application developers will gain a certain level of extra freedom and will have an increased possibility to “lock” onto customers, by for example selling mobile telephony together with the application, thereby making it more difficult a customer to switch to another provider.

These and many other issues are thoroughly discussed in our new mobile report “How to get success in the second generation MVNO market”. The report describes and analyses the changes that the mobile providers are facing, thereby helping them to better prepare and adapt to the challenges of the future mobile market. The report is therefore a very effective tool in helping new and existing mobile providers choose and develop the optimal future mobile provider strategy.

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