2016 Mobile Predictions

    2016 Mobile Predictions: Wi-Fi First Services Become Reality, Part 2

     

    The world of wireless gets more interesting – and more ingrained in other facets of life – every day. So RCR Wireless reached out to industry experts to solicit their predictions around the wireless space for the upcoming year. These are a few of their predictions.


     

    A new communications world order brings new opportunities

    Along with competitive dynamics and IP-based networking, another impetus prompting MSOs to reconsider their services and how they bring them to customers is the rise of Internet-based companies like Google and Apple. Google essentially remade the search industry, in terms of monetization models, and with services like Gmail, demonstrated that having visibility into a subscriber’s communication behavior is something from which value can be derived. Drastically different from the pay-for-the-service-you-use model, today you can pay for many services by simply granting access to personal information.

    For the MSO, the opportunity here is not to create “me too” services or a lower cost version of an existing service. Rather, they have options to bundle services differently and find new ways to layer value on top of that bundle, cementing a long-term relationship with the subscriber. Millennials don’t want to pay for a bundle if they only use a few services in the package. Communications for them is more about social media than making phone calls. That doesn’t mean they don’t ever want to make a phone call or be reachable by voice. If an MSO can offer them a service built around compelling personal experience and offer traditional voice in a way that complements what they’re purchasing, a mobile provider’s entry-level, prepaid bundle appears much less enticing.

    On the enterprise side, MSOs have long provided broadband connectivity to businesses. That broadband connectivity is now mobile within the enterprise as in-building Wi-Fi networks. Being able to offer office-wide mobility, freeing the employee from the physical structure of the desk while providing a full set of PBX features hosted in the cloud or by the MSO, presents another very attractive opportunity. It gives an MSO the chance to expand its business with the enterprise and is a stickier proposition than a broadband bundle, which may be re-contracted to the lowest bidder in 12-months.

    Additionally, if a business has a cellular provider and a broadband provider they’re probably spending $70 to $80 per month, per user on cellular service, plus they’re paying for broadband for the enterprise. Rolling these together they’ll spend significantly less on cellular and only nominally increase what they pay their broadband provider for the cloud PBX capability.

    What could potentially impact an expected MSO Wi-Fi first launch

    Over the past several months, MSOs have been very active in trials and technology evaluation, and some are exercising their options around MVNO relationships with cellular providers. These precursor moves indicate at least one major U.S. player announcing a mass-market mobile service launch in 2016. The one thing that could change or disrupt these plans relates to the ongoing discussions around mergers and acquisitions. Of course, it’s an ongoing game of chess, where the threat the MSO presents to the mobile carrier by entering the market with a Wi-Fi first proposition can also be part of a negotiation strategy for an associated M&A activity.

    While much remains to be seen on future pairings of MSOs and carriers as the U.S. market works towards consolidation, two things are certain: when an MSO heavyweight steps into the ring, great pains will have been taken to ensure its Wi-Fi service meets customer expectations for quality of experience; and, the redrawing of the competitive landscape for communications service provisioning will officially be underway.

    This is an excerpt from 2016 Predictions: MSOs advance from experiment to service with Wi-Fi first offerings on RCR Wireless. Read the full story here >

    Read part 1 of this series.

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