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5 Ways for Google to Disrupt the European Telecom Market

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

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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Micro and Nano MVNO’s

September 21, 2010 2 comments

A mobile virtual network operator, a.k.a. MVNO, is a telecom operator that does not have its own network. However what would happen if companies or even groups of friends could create their own MVNO.

These micro and nano MVNO’s would need tools that are directed at the size of their “customers”. A micro MVNO would span all employees of a company. Why would you want a micro MVNO? Enterprise contracts exist that have virtual numbering plans and a lot of more features. However you could extend the number of business and enterprise features a lot more and with a micro MVNO you would be able to provide a personalized experience to every company:

  • Companies would be able to centrally define the pricing plans that best suite them. Even make custom pricing plans. Calling cheaper during working hours, even if those working hours are different from the “normal” data plans. Cheap pricing to call to customers and partners. Calling from the network cells around the office, would be equal to fixed line prices. As a perk, each employee can provide a list of five phone numbers that can be called for free after business hours. Roaming between employees in different countries could have very low tariffs…
  • A common address book with all employees, customers, suppliers and partners.  Common virtual phone numbers to send group SMS to a department, to all customers, to all partners, etc.
  • Pre-loaded mobile apps and auto-provisioning of applications to all employees.

Nano MVNO´s would be focused on groups of friends, associations or family. Except for virtual numbering plans, custom pricing plans, a common address book, group messaging, auto-provisioning, etc. there are other services that could be of interest:

  • Joint reward points, so the group decides what to do with them.
  • Know one another’s location so you can easily do friend-finder type of applications.
  • One-click group conferencing
  • Group ringtones, operator logos, etc.
  • etc.

These lists of services would be just the beginning, especially if you add mobile applications, social networks and cloud computing offerings to the mix. However there is one base principle for these micro and nano MVNO’s: “More customized services, combined with group pressure, will make churning harder and group spending higher”.  It will be harder for an individual to churn. Also the “alpha” member of the group will push others towards using new services.

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