Mobile penetration in the U.S. is nearing 100 percent, leading some to wonder whether we’re near a saturation point. But as connectivity expands to a wide range of devices that aren’t phones, “handset penetration” won’t really matter anyway.
Operators are increasingly looking to machine-to-machine services to help offset a saturated handset market and data congestion on their networks. But the new world of M2M will require the emergence of new partnerships and business models.
Carriers’ data revenue hit $12.5 billion in the first quarter of 2010. However, they face two challenges: a saturated market and users who are boosting their consumption of data faster than carriers are boosting their data revenue. The Internet of things will help.
As Google is learning the hard way, customer care is a crucial component the mobile world. And its importance will increase as connectivity extends to a wide range of devices and applications. That presents a key opportunity for carriers to bring added value to the table.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless are using the CES stage to tout M2M services such as wireless health care and connected entertainment systems. And the home will be a key focal point for such businesses as 4G networks come online.
Verizon (s vz) Wireless, nearly two years after saying it would offer its network to “any apps, any device,” is moving toward openness with all the haste of a 12-year-old headed to the dentist. The company said today it’s certified fewer than five dozen devices for its 3G network, most of which are “specialized M2M units” — in other words, not the kind of thing you’re going to pick up at Best Buy (s bby). The carrier also announced the imminent launch of Vcast Apps, an initiative designed to allow developers to distribute their wares to Verizon’s customers.
While the talk of openness makes for good public relations, of course, and helps satisfy the requirements set forth by the FCC when Verizon won a chunk of 700 MHz spectrum at auction last year. But today’s press release makes Verizon’s priorities clear: It’s the network, stupid. Read More about Verizon Talks the Openness Talk, Doesn’t Walk the Openness Walk
Seems AT&T (s t) is learning from its mistakes. The nation’s No. 2 carrier has picked up 24 licenses covering wireless spectrum in parts of Washington and Oregon, including the key markets of Seattle and Portland. The spectrum, which was acquired from Microsoft (s msft) co-founder Paul Allen for an undisclosed sum, will support the rollout of LTE services in the Pacific Northwest. And AT&T’s 4G plans don’t include an upgrade to HSPA+, SVP Kris Rinne said at 4G World in Chicago this week. Instead, the carrier will continue its HSPA upgrades for the next two years and work toward a 2011 launch of its first LTE networks. Read More about AT&T Buys Spectrum and Plans Leap to LTE