App Strategy: Mobile Operators Must Focus On Assets They Control

app direct billingThe central role of operators in the mobile content and services value chain has been a given since the start. Initially, their biggest asset was distribution. Their access to millions - even hundreds of millions of consumers -- allowed them to call the shots and dictate the terms to providers and companies lining up to offer their content via operator portals. However, the advance of smartphones changes all the rules.

Mobile operators are now struggling to find their place in a value chain that is stacked in favor of the handset makers and OEMs that run the app stores. Sure, mobile operators can launch a competing app store. But the chances of success are limited. (In fact, we have yet to see a carrier leave its mark on the app landscape.)

What Marketers Need To Know About Mobile Apps

mobile mindsetFrom brands and agencies to Millennials and veteran observers, I encourage each to give their take on the issues and opportunities around mobile -- specifically permission-based mobile marketing. Today we take a step back and look at the Big Picture and examine the questions posed in an even bigger debate going on in the industry: what is the value chain? And, more importantly, what is the value of apps?

Who better to ask than Martin Wilson? Martin recently published a critical look at companies' obsession with delivering iPhone apps (a condition he terms iSyndrome). In it he also urges companies to think through their decision carefully because an iPhone app doesn't deliver the same value to every customer segment.

Global Prepaid Explosion Forces Strategy Shift; MetroPCS Rolls Out Personalized Portal

metroPCS logoThe global prepaid market is growing faster than post-paid, but winning and retaining these customers is no longer about extending plain-vanilla telephony services to people on fixed budgets. The advance of smartphones and faster 4G networks forces mobile operators to get smarter about how they offer data services (that were traditionally offered to post-paid subscribers) to everyone.

A recent poll conducted by research firm Ovum (and commissioned by Amdocs) reveals the vast majority of service providers and operators can read the writing on the wall.

New Mobile Shopping White Paper Reveals Positive Outlook For Operator Billing

mobile shoppingMobile commerce and shopping are fast becoming an integral part of our daily routine, a development that paves the way for online commerce giants and credit card companies to capture the lion's share of this exciting and lucrative market. Or so we think...

The explosion in mobile purchases also plays squarely in favor of mobile operator billing. In fact, operator billing may be the "missing link that allows a significant increase in commerce involving physical goods and services."

Amazon Joins The App Game; Why Pricing & Personalization Are Decisive

amazon app storeAmazon may be a little late to the party, but it's decision to launch the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal -- a new self-service tool that allows mobile application developers to join the retailer's Appstore Developer Program and submit apps for the upcoming launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android -- shows a fast-follower approach may stir up the market more than Apple and Google combined.

Read between the lines and Amazon is out to take on Android Marketplace and cut out mobile operators (by copying Apple's payment approach that allows consumers to purchase apps using a credit card stored on file, and so removes mobile operators from the revenue split altogether).

Google Move Bodes Well For Direct Carrier Billing; Why Mobile Operators Can’t Lose

android marketplaceGoogle's decision to embrace AT&T's Direct Carrier Billing for Android users is a clear win for consumers because they can purchase apps and charge them to their mobile phone bill. But the real story is what this move means for mobile operators.

For large operators with established storefronts (like AT&T), the tie-up with Google means an increase in revenue because the carrier has effectively (and wisely) positioned itself to perform billing on behalf of a third-party storefront (this strategy is also known as BOBO). And this is in addition to the carrier's benefit from selling content on its own.

Five From Five: Mobile Augmented Reality Apps & Face Recognition Gain Traction

mobile AR appLester Madden is third in our series of five innovators in mobile Augmented Reality (AR) stepping up to offer 2011 predictions. Lester is a hands-on developer and executive whose work (at companies including Microsoft, Symbian and Nokia) has helped catapult AR to the top of the industry agenda. Lester is currently working at mobile operator Orange.

In addition to his role in the mobile industry, Lester also blogs about trends and developments impacting AR at Augmented Planet. Some good news for mobile developers eager to get involved in mobile AR. Lester is also working on a book on the subject, and we'll have more on that project when it's ready for prime time.

Hong Kong Mobile Operator CSL Reveals Real Impact Of Personalization On Mobile Data

mynet thumbnailPeople want what they want. As a result, they have come to expect – even demand – content and services in tune with their lifestyles and life stages. On mobile – the fiercely personal device we take with us everywhere – the requirement for relevancy is even greater, which is why personalization is poised to become a mobile megatrend. Put another way, personalized recommendations and schemes that effectively expose us to the content we are most likely to appreciate (content ranging from websites to marketing messages to mobile apps) are gaining traction.

One mobile operator that "gets" the strategic importance of personalization (if only to satisfy our own requirement for convenience and reduce the heavy-lifting when it comes to choosing our entertainment) is CSL, the leading mobile operator in Hong Kong with 2.6 million subscribers.

Five From Five: Mobile AR Competition & Innovation Heats Up

mobile ARToday the popular (and viral) Five From Five series continues with mobile Augmented Reality (AR) and asks five companies/influencers across the emerging business ecosystem for their pick of hot topic and trends.

Christine Perey is more than an independent analyst; she is a leading - and passionate -- evangelist working within the industry to increase deal flow, validate business models, and promote sanity (not hype) in the nascent mobile AR space. She made a huge impression on me when she stepped up to contribute a guest column (one of the most popular on MSearchGroove, I might add) examining mobile AR evolution, use cases and the revenue streams that will help advance the industry.