The essential components of the mobile Internet -- network, device and application -- are all undergoing changes, along with the ongoing evolution of mobile communication industry.
Today, mobile devices increasingly meet various demands for communication, entertainment, learning, living, working, and access to innovative m-commerce applications.
They also enhance people’s sense of hearing, sight and touch; expand the breadth and depth of communication; and speed up the transformation of people’s way of thinking, lifestyle and working style.
These changes have directly contributed to the transformation of the mobile industry environment and ecosystem within China.
Device manufacturers are gradually penetrating into the traditional business areas of content providers, virtual operators and integrated managed service providers. Internet companies are expanding their territory into operation and device manufacturing. Software enterprises are extending from traditional enterprise applications to support growing mobility.
According to the latest market study by IDC, mobile network service providers are beginning to lose their competitive edge. In IDC’s opinion, the complexity and breadth of the mobile ecosystem requires telecom operators to have three new open competition strategies:
1. Be open to accepting and promoting mutual penetration and convergence of industry ecosystem players to maximize the business values of mobility technology, and build a win-win mobile ecosystem.
Globally, more operators are paying increasing attention to data traffic monetization and to improving the capability of converting data traffic to actual income. They're attempting to achieve service innovation and business model transformation via the opening up of service capabilities and cooperation with other ecosystem players.
Meanwhile, traditional telecom services are highly challenged in the era of mobile Internet and telecom operators are looking for new revenue streams within the growth of the sector.
However, it is very difficult for operators to achieve service innovation under their existing organizational structure and mechanism. Therefore, increasingly telecom operators are trying to cope with the mobile Internet challenges and opportunities by adjusting their organizational structure, merger and acquisition or establishing subsidiaries.
In the competition with Internet companies, telecom operators start to explore possibilities of utilizing their superior resources to seek cooperation in competition -- including launching service packages jointly and mobile advertising.
2. Grasp the technology trends. IDC believes that the third platform based on mobility, cloud computing, Big Data and social media will be the mainstream or even the single platform for future Information and Communications Technologies. The four pillar technologies will be crucial to service innovation and operation management of telecom operators in future.
Since the low-cost smart phones entered the market in 2011, China’s smartphone market has maintained a high growth momentum in 2012 with a growth rate of 135 percent. The smartphone shipment has exceeded that of feature phones in Q2 2012, accounting for 52.5 percent of the total mobile phone shipment.
The gap between mobile devices and PC in terms of processing power is narrowing. IDC forecasts that by 2016 there will be 150 million people in China with more than two smart connected devices, nearly 100 million people with three smart connected devices. And the total install base of smart phones in China will exceed 600 million as of 2016.
Personal storage and sharing will become an important factor for the continuing rapid development of smart connected devices in 2013. IDC believes that consumers will gradually change the current local storage modes in the coming five years, and network storage will be the major storage approach for consumers in future.
Telecom operators can provide personal cloud storage services by leveraging the brand and security trust built among consumers for a long time, however for business differentiation they need to accelerate the transition from low-value storage and synchronization service to high-value intelligent Big Data analytic-based service.
Therefore, the value of Big Data for telecom operators not only lies in their internal operation and management, but more importantly in how to utilize Big Data mining and analytics to improve service innovation and precision marketing capabilities. It will be a tool for operators to enhance their competitiveness in the era of mobile Internet.
3. The development of third platform technology blurs the boundary of individuals and enterprises, creates new business opportunities for operators, and enables them to penetrate into the enterprise mobility market by leveraging their advantages in individual user market.
Mobility technology has been regarded by more enterprises as a key element of future workplaces. Developing a comprehensive mobility strategy, comprising various elements such as device, platform, network, application, social media, unified communication and security, has become a critical requirement for many enterprises.
Furthermore, employees are beginning to expect the same or similar device and application experience in the enterprise environment just like in their personal life. However, comparing with personal mobile applications, enterprise mobility involves a more complicated ecosystem, directly leading to the slow launch of large-scale enterprise mobility project.
Therefore, enterprises need a trustworthy partner with strong resource integration to guide them through the mobility journey from employee mobility to process mobility, then to channel and business mobility.
IDC study indicates that nearly 60 percent commercial smartphones in China are sold via telecom operators. IDC’s survey on corporate users also shows that telecom operators are the preferred partners for enterprises in deployment of their mobile applications. Hence, telecom operators can make full use of their advantages as device channel to provide integrated mobile application services for enterprises.
During this process, operators need to cooperate fully with other vendors in the mobility ecosystem and integrate resources to provide users with comprehensive enterprise mobility solutions, and complete the transition from being product-oriented to solution-oriented.
"Telecom operators have been confronted with unprecedented challenges under the impact of mobile Internet. Promoting ecosystem cooperation by utilizing their unique advantages and capabilities; exploring new changes arising from third platform; and enhancing the resource integration capacity to provide enterprises with integrated mobility solutions will help operators create business opportunities in the fast-changing mobile Internet era," said Kitty Fok, general manager of IDC China.