5 Ways for Google to Disrupt the European Telecom Market


The European telecom market has been a fragmented market with many languages and local laws. Small successful US dotcoms often completely avoid Europe. This makes the European operators feel relatively safe and not aware of the disruptive technology that awaits them.

How could Google disturb the current European telecom market?

1) Become a Pan-European MVNO and offer cheap no-roaming data plans.

Tablets are reaching the Tipping Point. If Google would offer one SIM to cheaply access the Internet everywhere in Europe, then operators would loose out enormous roaming revenue and their most lucrative market segment: travelling businessmen.

Google could also allow the usage of this data plan in mobiles and offer Google Voice and Talk on the mobile via VoIP.

2) Micropayments together with Energy providers

Telecom operators have been reluctant to set-up a long tail eco-system of partners that can sell services, content and apps and charge them directly onto your phone bill. Each operator has its own interfaces, if any. The operator’s revenue share is extremely high, making most business models unprofitable.

What if Google would partner with giants in other industries? Would consumers mind if their online game purchases would be billed on their electricity bill instead of on their telephone bill when the amount is below €2? They would probably not. The energy giant has to send you a monthly bill anyway, so getting some extra profit would be nice for them.

3) Top-up NFC with no merchant commissions

In your Android mobile you would use your NFC (near field communication) device to pay small amounts. From time to time you would recharge your mobile via Google’s Checkout or enable an auto-recharge. Merchants would receive the combined money transfer at the end of each month but would not pay commission. How would Google make money? A top-up and late payment to merchant means that Google can hold large amounts of money for easily 30 days. The interests should go far in paying daily operations costs. Additionally you would share with Google all your purchases, so they can target you with virtual coupons and other long tail advertisements.

4) Youtube + Google TV can become the European Netflix

For those not familiar with Netflix, and similar services, it is a “cheap” all-you-can-eat video-on-demand service in the US. It streams the latest movies and series from the Amazon Cloud right towards your SmartTV, Set-up Box, Tablet or PC. Prices have recently gone up but are still relatively cheap.

Using Youtube’s streaming platform and Google TV’s content, operators could be seeing their data network costs skyrock without any major revenue gain.

5) Combine all of the above

Google could be launching all of the above in a very short time period, leaving operators no time to react. Roaming/calls/SMS would drop enormously, third-party revenue from premium SMS would drop, lots of new innovative services sold over-the-top and an unseen bandwidth usage explosion.

Sometimes you wish you would be working for the other side…

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