Helping mobile operators to work smarter and thrive in the years ahead

By February 4, 2011 7 Comments

Keen observers of the mobile operator community will have observed that these giants of the telecommunications industry have pretty much woken up to the fact that their early vision of dominating the mobile internet in the way that say Google and Facebook dominate the wired web just isn’t going to happen.  They are now in the process of figuring out what that means for their strategy and their organisational structures, and a big part of that is getting a better understanding of the trends in the market and learning to be lean and innovative – all things that startups excel at.

When I was recently asked to give a talk to 30 board level and senior execs from one of the top four UK operators to help them with this problem my first thought was that it would be a great opportunity to feed in some ideas that will both help the operator thrive and to work better with startups.  My second thought was that many of you will have first hand experiences of what it is like to work with them today and good ideas about how they might change in the future.

If that is you please contribute in the comments.  The more ideas the better.  Although whilst cheaper access and better rev share deals are clearly important it would also be great to hear ideas which talk more to organisational behaviour – e.g. open APIs etc

If you need help getting started, they sent me these bullets to guide my talk (my first thoughts in brackets at the end of each bullet).

  • To give delegates an overview of the main challenges facing technology/IT/telecoms/media companies in the next 3-5 years (increasing pace of change, ubiquitous networks, declining bandwidth costs, massively rising data consumption, content prices trending towards zero)
  • To provide a view on the implications of these challenges on the way that large corporations operate (big markets created quickly, need to partner with/acquire start-ups to access them, innovation processes become pre-requisite for sustained success, push decision making out to the front line)
  • To provide some perspectives on how the challenges might impact [Operator] (alternatives to cellular will proliferate, calls will become data making the data tariff all important, network data quality will become the basis for competition, other services should be provided cross network and not linked to network ownership, micropayments are a big opportunity)
  • To provide some ideas around what corporations learn from successful start-ups  (launch early, make it ok to fail, allow employees to benefit from their successes)