“Mobile Unified Communications – an unexplored opportunity”, says PwC.
MNOs and MVNOs need to assert their role in the provision of mobile UC services, or risk this value shifting to OTT platforms. Such platforms do not capitalise on the full strengths of MNO offers, typically being app or data dependent. However, this advantage will be eroded, so it’s critical for MNOs and MVNOs to act now to retain valuable enterprise customers.
In a recent report, leading professional services firm Price Waterhouse has highlighted both the opportunity that confronts mobile operators to offer mobile UC services and also the urgency of doing so. As the report notes, “irrespective of size, organisations are seeking innovation and value by enabling employees to connect and collaborate at the right time, inside and outside the business. Becoming a single provider of this user experience….can fuel new revenue streams and opportunities for MNOs”.
MNOs and MVNOs must respond to this. For how long can they ignore their key role in providing the truly mobile UC experiences that are increasingly demanded by enterprise customers?
It’s something that both taps into their core competencies as well as opens up an exciting evolution path. As PwC makes clear, it’s a natural evolution from earlier efforts to deliver fixed mobile convergence. Mobile UC brings together access networks, such as fixed and mobile, together with other attributes such as location, context, applications and so on.
The problem is that there have been several waves of development in the unified communications market, as it has moved from fixed to mobile-based solutions, incorporating convergence and moving towards enhanced collaboration possibilities. These successive waves of evolution have captured the attention of a growing range of participants and stakeholders, broadening the ecosystem. At the same time, many of today’s alternative solutions have critical data dependencies but are delivered by OTT and software providers.
However, underlying any mobile UC solution remains the need for connectivity. Even though data connectivity can offer some advantages, it also means that a SIM-based approach providers better service consistency. Mobile operators need to recognise this, as there is a risk that attention will be focused on alternative providers and that the value will shift towards software platforms, leaving mobile providers simply as access and connectivity – pipe – providers. Failure to recognise and articulate the fundamental importance of the SIM is akin to ceding this battle on a permanent business.
In order to retain customer relevance and to build stickier relationships, mobile operators must deliver a service that capitalises on their underlying assets (networks, SIMs, voice, location), has no data dependency, but which can offer enhanced data capabilities, and which can evolve in an iterative fashion to incrementally offer new features and functions.
As a result, mobile operators can choose partners that offer the ability to create such an offer – such as Gintel – or they can enable partner providers to do so across their network assets. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to more value shifting to OTT providers and software vendors and the value of mobile operators will decline.
It’s not too late – talk to Gintel to find out how to take a stake in the mobile unified communications market.