News just in that British Telecom is taking a giant leap (for telcos) and plans on exposing its next-generation service creation platform to third-party applications developers. Those outside of the Telecommunication industry would say – ho hum, Facebook, MySpace et al have had SDKs since their inception. What’s so special about a telco doing it?
Well as I see it, Telcos are currently the ICT platform players with both scale AND revenue. Sure Facebook boast a gazillion users but it generates about $50 revenue a year (poetic licence OK?), the Telcos however have both a large client base (although reducing all the time as alternative solutions come on stream) and a nice tidy golden goose revenue stream.
I’ve always said that a platform play that combined the user numbers of a telco, along with some open community building attributes and a telco revenue generating model would go gangbusters. I’m unsure whether the corporate reticence to act that seems to be symptomatic of telcos will stymie their potential to win with this play but, they’ve at least got as good a chance as the social networking platforms.
The biggest barrier is for Telcos to recognise that they’re essential SaaS providers and to do all the things that SaaS providers need to do to gain scale and profitability – this recognition is the barrier to telco success.