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Mobile industry's top 10 challenges

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Today's mobile players face the question of whether they should offer DSL and fibre solutions, or focus on a pure mobile strategy.
Today's mobile players face the question of whether they should offer DSL and fibre solutions, or focus on a pure mobile strategy.

The mobile industry, globally, is changing rapidly amid what has been dubbed the data revolution, and mobile players today face challenges that previous generations did not have to contend with.

ICT research and consulting firm Strand Consult has spent months working with over 160 mobile operators around the world, to identify and define the 10 biggest challenges it believes the mobile industry is facing.

This is what, according to the firm, the mobile industry needs to be prepared for:

1. Decreasing prices: The regulation of roaming and the termination fees market will result in some type of consolidation.

2. Consolidation: This can happen in a number of ways, according to Strand. "There is the traditional merger and acquisition process, and then an alternative model is to build and operate mobile networks together with competitors."

3. Packaging and branding mobile products: Operators face the question of howto price and package mobile products, as well as how to avoid flat rate products undermining existing business.

4. The price development of the prepaid market: The prepaid market has seen a negative development from what was initially a good business, with many countries seeing a catastrophic development of the prepaid market.

5. General competition in the mobile broadband market is tough: Prices are falling faster than the market is growing. This often results in the uneven voice-market share resulting in smaller operators having an unusually large market share in mobile broadband, while the large operators are having difficulty acquiring the same size market share on mobile broadband as they already have on voice.

6. Mobile technologies versus fixed-line technologies: Should a mobile operator focus on DSL and fibre solutions, or would it be better to go all out on a pure mobile strategy? Some operators already have access to their own fixed-line networks, while others need to purchase access to the copper network to sell DSL. Will market players that are currently doing business by delivering DSL over rented copper wire have any chance of success the way the mobile broadband market is developing?

7. Increasing costs of subsidising smartphones: Are smartphones in fact only "smart" business for those that manufacture the coolest smartphone models and are operators in reality simply footing the bill for the smartphone party?

8. How will mobile operators market, distribute and sell their products in the future? Operators need to decide whether to do this via their own stores, dealers, or online. Mobile operators currently have large distribution costs involved in distribution and operating their own stores.

9. New market players are entering the value-added services market: Operators may focus on having their own portals, app stores, machine-to-machine services and mobile payments - or other business models may help increase sales and earnings in these areas and at the same time reduce costs.

10. How will the political ad-regulative system influence the mobile industry in the future? Do the powers-that-be have a sincere desire to see a mobile market with many market players and a high level of competition, or would they prefer to see a consolidation of the market?

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