On Monday 14 March Matt Hatch, MD of Mubaloo, joined a panel of industry experts at the Telecom Executive Network (TEN) Next Generation Mobile Broadband forum. Matt, O2, Orange and 3 discussed ‘Making Mobile Broadband Make Money’. The main discussion points were around how the operators could piggy back on the success of the Apple and Google App stores and start charging more money for their services.

It is the opinion of Mubaloo that rather than look at canabalising app revenue from Apple and Google, mobile operators should focus on their main line of business which is providing good quality, high bandwidth mobile broadband services i.e. focus on the pipes not the poems:

  • Mobile Broadband Coverage: increase the coverage of 3G broadband to more locations across the UK, i.e. allow the smartphone app to work anywhere, anytime
  • Quality of service: ensure a consistent level of bandwidth to stop apps crashing due to lack of data
  • Roaming: come to some sensible agreement about roaming charges that encourage the use of mobile broadband across international boundaries

The result will be increased usage of apps and demand for bandwidth which the operators are within their rights to charge an appropriate amount of money for.

With respect to WAC (Wholesale Application Community), an attempt by over 24 operators to form a competitive platform to the established Google marketplace and Apple app stores, Mubaloo’s advice is don’t compete head on, but leverage your advantages and offer something that the other app stores don’t. Current store fronts are generic catering for a whole variety of apps. Operators should localise and focus on user groups e.g. store fronts for kids, young professionals, mums at home, retirees  etc.. and bundle appropriate apps behind the store fronts. That way they offer something different and help to achieve their three main pre-occupations: attract new users (acquisitions); reduced churn; increased ARPU.

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