As the mobile service provider's traditional sources of communications revenues decrease, the move towards 4G LTE enables new potential streams of revenues -- including in-store retail applications, big data analytics, customer experience management (CEM) and personalized advertising.
Location-based technologies are at the center of these market developments.
According to their latest global market study, ABI Research has considered the applications, industry verticals and technologies that will drive new location-based revenue growth for mobile carriers worldwide.
"Location for carriers is no longer about navigation applications. Location will become an essential tool in network optimization and CEM, as we move to LTE, HetNets, and personalized subscriber packages," said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI Research.
While these advances gives a clear return on investment, ABI says that there is also significant upside on new areas -- such as retail/indoor apps, financial/banking, big data analytics, and advertising.
Huge tertiary benefits aside, ABI Research forecasts associated telecom service provider revenues to approach $2 billion by 2019 in a market with far greater long-term potential.
This is reflected in a number of new and upcoming announcements from major carriers such as Verizon (Precision Market Insights, Smart Rewards), AT&T (Location Information Services), SK Telecom (Indoor Location), Telefnica Germany, O2 (Dynamic Insights), Orange (Data for Development), and Sprint (Pinsight Media).
From an advertising and analytics perspective, ABI has also noted an increase in joint ventures between carriers -- such as Weve in the United Kingdom -- providing the scale and frequency needed to compete. If this proves to be a success, it will be quickly replicated worldwide.
ABI believes that mobile internet service providers have been sitting on a location-based goldmine for too long, fearing a privacy backlash.
However, through careful segmentation of aggregated, anonymous analytics and advertising, coupled with clear opt in/out options and third party approval of anonymity, mobile network proiders can overcome any fears, while giving smartphone users the power to choose how their data is used.
Demand is growing for location-based information services and there is a perceived need for a Google alternative. Savvy mobile network service providers, in particular, are well placed in the analytics, retail, financial and advertising spaces to become just that.