We all have mobile phones, some of us carry more than one. But going mobile is not only about making phone callson the go. With the birth of the iPhone, going mobile now means staying connected all the time.The competition between hardware manufacturesrs is a true blessing for customers. The mobile war between Android-based phones vs. iPhone (vs. Windows mobile in the near future) brought prices down, making smartphones a household item. Despite this war, mobile hardware manufacturers have been very successful - Apple being the best example, but other manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola are making solid profits off of their mobile divisions.
But what about mobile carriers? On one hand, the smartphones opened new revenue streams for mobile carriers. Staying connected all the time requires a lot of data to go from and to your phone. Unlimited data packages are slowly becoming the norm, and the new frontier seems to be mobile broadband – now that we all have internet access from our phones, we will soon require broadband access. That’s another possible revenue stream for mobile operators, but it also means a large investment in infrastructure.
Additionally, the competition between mobile carriers can be quite a challenge. As far as hardware is concerned, not everyone has a smartphone yet, and as new models are coming out, consumers are likely to want to upgrade. As far as mobile carriers go, we have all already signed up with our preferred carrier. Attracting customers is not a simple task, and the question is – is it all about the price? Price is certainly a strong selling point, but mobile carriers are becoming more and more creative.
One way of attracting customers is simplicity in mobile, as O2, the UK mobile carrier has been pushing. The idea is to make service plans simple and easy to understand. You can choose to use a data package, but only if you need one.
In South Korea, where users are accustomed to very fast and cheap internet connection, Korea Telecom is building a 4G wireless network that can be a differntial factor for mobile users desiring high speed Internet access. Other operators are partnering with content providers to offer various interesting media for consumption buy smartphone owners. Which model will prevail? That remains to be seen.