Carriers Learning That Partnerships Are The Best Way To Avoid Being Dumb Pipes

Panelists at a discussion on the future of wireless at Accenture’s annual Global Convergence Forum in Rome raised the carrier’s concern about becoming “big dumb pipes”, which has historically been fought by not allowing customers to access anything except the carrier deck. Another solution that’s being touted more and more is for carrier’s to get into the facilitation business: “Tom Wheeler, managing director of private equity firm Core Capital Partners in Washington, D.C., [suggested] carriers need to take advantage of the fact that they know more about their subscribers than anyone else does, and either sell that information to third-party content and service providers to help them target advertising at mobile customers, or possibly transmit advertising to handsets to be cached there and delivered at opportune times” reports IT Business. There’s signs that carriers are beginning to realise they can’t provide the new services as a one-man band. Stefane Parisse, head of strategy at mobile carrier Vodafone Italy, said: “We have learned that we cannot build new services by ourselves as we were used to in the past”. The general excitement was apparently around Web 2.0-style offerings driving the take-up of 3G, with Philippe Chauffard from Accenture arguing that social networks like MySpace and Facebook are better suited to mobile anyway. Perhaps, but it’s probably not what content and producers want to hear…but if the social networks encourage people to take up 3G services and pay for data packages it will provide the customer base for content services.