De ja mobile

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Roundabout in Covent Garden Market

Back in November 2000 I went to a conference hosted by Capgemini (then Cap Gemini Ernst & Young) third annual global telecom event A World of Change: Developing Winning Strategies in a Connected Society.

The key part of this event was the findings of a survey done by Capgemini and accountancy firm Ernst & Young of telecoms executives from a 124 carriers, equipment suppliers and technology companies.

The key take out of this was that the survey respondents didn’t know how business or consumer customers were going to use broadband and whether their network investments would pay off.

Move forward seven years, and I am thinking that the same can be said of the mobile phone companies years after their 3G mobile license auctions. I have talked with a number of people involved in the mobile sector with regards the situation.

All the carriers have a low-key developer programme in place which they hope incubate a killer application for all the bits and bytes. The major carriers have been screwed over by Apple, because they are desperate to be ’saved’ by some iPod karma.

Mobile carriers have ignored ways of increasing revenue opportunity through voice. Broadband providers are starting to think about HD VoIP. Mobile carriers had a similar premium quality voice offering in the late 1990s. One2One (now T-Mobile UK) with its Precept tariff and Orange had enhanced voice quality offerings which promised better-quality audio on calls. This did require capital investment in the infrastructure which made it unattractive at the time. These enhanced voice services apparently provided a three-fold lift in revenues, a fact that the carriers have chosen to ignore or have forgotten.

So is this wonderful data future down to mobile blogging, Facebook or email? I have no idea, but the general consensus is that last years flavour de jour mobile TV has been weighed, measured and found wanting.