Pan-European mobile operators are still struggling to implement coherent, cross-national mobile data strategies, despite being several years into their mobile data activities, according to an Executive Briefing from Baskerville – Operator Strategies for Messaging and Mobile Data: Profiles of Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange and O2.
As the mobile data revolution gathers pace, European mobile operators find themselves in unfamiliar territory. They were taken by surprise by SMS and made a near-complete mess of the introduction of WAP. After fumbling through periods of walled garden offers and joint ventures for mobile content, operators are now trying to put coherent strategies in place for mobile data.
The mobile empires of Vodafone, Orange, T-mobile and O2 were created only over the past few years. National operators frequently still retain a degree of autonomy, and common platforms cannot always easily be implemented top-down, further states the Baskerville report.
Not even O2, which has 100% ownership of its three operating companies, appears to be able to implement common platforms across the group. Only two weeks after Mobile Media newsletter reported that mobile location vendor Webraska had been dropped by O2 Ireland, O2 Germany announced a deal with the same vendor.
Vodafone is clearly one step ahead of its rivals with Vodafone Live!, although O2 remains the cellco with the highest share of revenues from data.
Having lost some of its branding lead, Orange is now looking to roll out a common platform and introduce a range of devices to enhance the ‘orange experience’ and increase its data revenues. But a clear strategy appears to remain elusive.
One part of its plans will fall within the alliance of T-Mobile, Telefonica and Telecom Italia Mobile, which Orange has joined. The alliance encompasses mobile voice and mobile data and is seen as a weapon against Vodafone live!
Spanish market leader Telefonica Moviles Espana (TME), meanwhile, is taking on a plethora of technology enablers to offer its subscribers as broad a choice as possible. But this presents problems for developers, who have to port applications to a multitude of platforms. Alongside this, TME serves up a multitude of brands, which could confuse subscribers.
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