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Mobile Operators Confused About "Open Mobile" Movement

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

A study of the movement to Open Mobile concludes that carriers are confused about the potential economics of open networks and believe their own myths about having their businesses become "commoditized" and being turned into "dumb pipes."

"Wireless carriers have expressed a real dread of being turned into an unprofitable commodity business, but it just doesn't play out that way, when you do the numbers," states Al Boschulte, co-author of the Boschulte Schnee Group study "Open Mobile."

He continues, "We (BSG) have done the first model of how a transformed 'open' carrier would look and it shows excellent prospects for high returns, even comparable to what a Verizon Wireless gets today. But they have to make radical changes in their business assumptions." Boschulte has actually run wireless companies both in the U.S. (including NYNEX Mobile, now part of Verizon Wireless) and abroad.

Study co-author Victor Schnee adds, "The carriers have drawn the wrong conclusions from the stagnation of the fixed line business. Our New Carrier Open Mobile Business Model demonstrates that there is big money to be made under an 'open' mobile system. There will be real pain for the carriers who don't catch on to this reasonably quickly."

Carriers' attitudes about Open Mobile are absolutely crucial, as the study explains. The study sets forth a new framework for analyzing how the industry progresses to true openness. It defines the "3 Gates to Open Mobile" and explains how each gate will be opened. The carrier gate is by far the major obstacle.

"At the same time that pressure on the carriers is building, there is a war going on involving emerging Mobile Internet Ecosystems," states Victor Schnee. "This war includes: Apple, Google, Nokia, RIM and the carriers as well. Each wants its version of "open" - favorable to its own interests - to dominate. Apple is in the lead." The study dissects the outlook for these approaches and how they will impact the evolution towards openness over the next five-to-seven years.

This ecosystem struggle intertwines with a set of issues, all analyzed in the study, involving: a) open source OSs such as LiMo and Android's approaches to Linux; b) what Microsoft must do to have a robust future in mobile; c) how the mobile device business may be overhauled in the course of this fight; d) how to assure open opportunities for apps and content providers; e) where the surprising opportunities are for mobile Internet apps growth; and f) how big retailers will address the new world of Open Mobile.

Open Mobile Is Now An Inevitability

"Open Mobile is now an inevitability," states Al Boschulte, "We project a Four Stage Cycle leading to a broad level of openness in mobile OSs, devices, networks and subscriber access." The study concludes the process will transpire over about five-to-seven years. It explains the drivers for each stage and how long each takes.

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Tags: android  google  microsoft  verizon wireless  verizon  rim  mobile internet  oss  open source  nokia,  apps  true