Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Mauro Carniel, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Rostyslav Demush

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Article

Putting on the Squeeze

Putting on the Squeeze

Mobile telephony is a very competitive industry, as we all know. But how many people realize that the model of device manufacturers competing against each other while the carriers vie for customers is about to be turned upside down, and that some companies are about to find out that next year's competition is today's biggest customer?

While users are still going to want the latest handsets, with all the bells and whistles that come with them, the next battleground won't be for devices or customers, but for the ability to offer those customers premium services, and to charge them for those services.

Premium services are a big business already, with ringtones being the best-known example. The constantly changing popular music charts provide a never-ending source of content, and in Europe anyway, newspapers carry pages of advertisements offering everything from the latest hits to '60s greats, all rendered in annoying MIDI. But the carriers aren't the ones placing these ringtone advertisements, it's third-party companies that saw the bandwagon leaving and were quick to jump on board, while the network operators were forced to trail behind with their own offerings.

The ringtone market has demonstrated that users are willing and able to pay for additional services, and the race is on to find "The Next Ringtone." Java has opened the door to a much broader range of content, and this time the operators hold the upper hand because, while the ringtone services used premium-rated SMS messages for their charging mechanisms, Java games (it's still generally games) are downloaded from WAP sites, which lack such a convenient charging mechanism. Here the operators have the advantage, as they own the billing relationship with the customers, and can easily add charges for Java programs downloaded from their own WAP sites to the customers' bills.

But downloading games is only the very start of the range of premium services users will have available to them in the very near future. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) opens the possibility for massive expansion of such services, with operators already offering daily horoscopes, "Garfield" cartoon strips, and filtered news stories at a premium for every message sent. It's almost impossible for anyone other than the network operator to offer services like this. Content providers are welcome to make arrangements with the operators, but it's the operators who control the billing relationship and so negotiate from a position of strength.

Mobile phone manufacturers don't have any kind of relationship with the users, let alone a billing relationship, at least for the moment. Initiatives such as Club Nokia can be seen as an attempt by the manufacturers to create some sort of relationship, but they are still a long way from being able to bill for content, and none of them has publicly indicated any intent to offer chargeable content direct to their users.

But the opportunity is there, and the temptation is considerable. Most mobile operators - even the ones that didn't bid silly money for 3G licenses - have extensive debts to service, and those debts are secured against future revenues, a large part of which is expected to be made from premium content provision.

As bandwidth increases, the potential for chargeable content also increases, so the current offerings are only the very beginning of what we'll be seeing in coming years. Companies in the UK are already testing music download services running over GPRS networks. While it's unlikely we'll see movies being downloaded over GSM networks for the foreseeable future, it's clear that the quantity of downloadable content is set to increase massively, and with it, the chargeable services users will be billed for. All the operators have to do is make sure users are able and willing to take advantage of the content they offer.

It's clear that control of the user interface is going to be an important factor in the future development of handsets and mobile business models. With the carriers trying to integrate their online offerings into the offline functionality built into the handsets, and the manufacturers trying to maintain their own brand look-and-feel, not to mention increasing their relationship with their users, the third parties who made so much money on ringtones haven't been sitting still.

The fight over your mobile phone screen is only beginning, and though it's unlikely we'll ever see a clear victor, there will certainly be some bloody noses before the battle is over.

More Stories By Bill Ray

Bill Ray, former editor-in-chief (and continuing distinguished contributor to) Wireless Business & Technology magazine, has been developing wireless applications for over 20 ears on just about every platform available. Heavily involved in Java since its release, he developed some of the first cryptography applications for Java and was a founder of JCP Computer Services, a company later sold to Sun Microsystems. At Swisscom he was responsible for the first Java-capable DTV set-top box, and currently holds the position of head of Enabling Software at 02, a UK network operator.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
david klein 01/07/04 02:13:12 PM EST

Dear Sir/Madam,

Could you please provide me with an address which I can reach Bill Ray please. I am interested in obtain additional information from him.

regards,

David Klein

09/17/03 06:35:55 AM EDT

Intersesting article, whilst I agree that the operator's do have the upper hand because of their unique billing relationship with customers 3rd party suppliers are able charge for products downloaded from WAP sites by using IVR when ordering the product or by triggering Premium SMS messages as part of the download mechanism.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...