Liversidge says devaluing new services and the investments operators make is a critical area the industry needs to address. 'We have done a very effective job of supporting and sustaining the business model of device makers with the subsidy model.'
Consumers have been conditioned to expect handsets for free. He calls for operators to move away from the subsidy model and base pricing on the fair value of a device.
But transforming your business on the basis of technical evolution (LTE or otherwise) is a joke, Hugh Roberts, an independent communications and media strategist, told Telecom Asia.
"4G is not about technology. It is about enabling a seamless multi-channel customer experience with an internal systems environment that is fit for purpose and will deliver a single view of the customer to those within the business who need it. Any network operator that fails to grasp this will not have a long-term future within the communications value chain,' Roberts says.
Sadly, he says, it isn't just the carriers, but also the shareholders, "articularly those in the US, who take a highly protectionist stance when it comes to the determination of telco business strategy."
'It isn't just the walled-garden that is dead, but the entire network-led view of how we should make money. The communications and media value chain now requires all of its players to embrace openness and manage their customer interactions effectively. This is the true goal of business mindset transformation.'
While telcos may know how to upgrade their networks, which they've been doing for 100 years, the TM Forum's Willetts said what they're not good at is fundamentally changing the way the business works.
Moving to a single, flat IP network is only going to take part of the costs of your operations out if you leave your business running in the same way. 'Most operators over the years have built stovepipes of networks, systems and processes. If you leave that method of operations in place, you've kept your old cost base and your old, slow way of doing things.'
He says operators have to move to a more highly automated, optimized way of running the business. 'So getting rid of those operations stacks is very important.'
The industry is at a crossroads, says Karl Whitelock, a senior consulting analyst with Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan, 'With more innovative powers at our disposal - collectively from our enhanced abilities to share information - than from the combined discoveries of the last two centuries.'
The challenge, he says, lies in using these powers to better enable and more effectively create an environment of business opportunity geared to support the needs of customers in both mature and growth markets.