Sridhar Pai /Tonse Telecom
20 Dec 2010
In this scenario, Ericsson and others probably feel it best to buy select networks in certain geographies where they already manage a critical mass of consumers, managing the entire lifecycle of these networks.
Vendors would benefit by being able to reduce the cost of network sharing and operations, while their operator partners will be able to buy bandwidth, airtime, Erlangs and switching capacity and pay per use or per quarter.
This is akin to the carrier model where large wholesale capacities would be built and smaller operators would use and pay for bandwidth used.
Ericsson and others will thus become ‘telecom utilities’ not operators – but would own networks and so would not be MVNOs. They will build and manage networks thus not be pure vendors, but design and develop new technologies and so will not be pure carriers. Increasingly their revenues will come from services, but they will never bill consumers or enterprises, and they will be answerable to operators whose networks they will run.
This would be a complex, game-changing transition. Vendors could not be blamed for looking in envy at Apple, Google or Facebook – where life appears to follow the simple old rule: build the device, search engine or social site and they will come!
Sridhar Pai is founder CEO of telecom research firm Tonse Telecom