What's next for Asia's mobile operators

Telecom Asia staff writers and industry analysts
21 Dec 2010
00:00
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Get smart on data pricing

Asian mobile operators should not be asking, "What Android device should I be selling?" but "How should I be selling mobile broadband?" and "How can I squeeze that extra ARPU out of my customer?"

It will be a brave operator that tries and tests different mobile broadband pricing strategies. Asia is starting to see some innovativeness in pricing, such as speed-based tariffs in Hong Kong and Indonesia, but there is a lot more to be done. 

Vendors are aware of the data conundrum and have some innovative pricing strategies that are at least worth listening to if you are an operator. But the next couple of years should see operators more than just talk about pricing strategies.

Next year should be the year that operators really start concerted efforts to better monetize their data offerings. I say "should" because the reality may be quite different. 

More moves toward personalization of services through smarter pricing has to be one of the key priority for operators, especially with LTE on Asia's doorstep. Android devices, tablets and other smartphones will sell themselves. 

By now, Android and tablets will already be on most operators' "what's next" lists, and in some cases, LTE will make the cut as well.

Android devices should result in a more level playing field between those operators that have iPhone exclusivity and those operators that don't.

Tablets will also find a niche too, and it won't just be the iPad that sells. Nor will tablets be just for workers. Families and schools will increasingly jump on the tablet craze. The biggest loser here will be netbooks.

- Nicole McCormick, senior analyst, Ovum

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