.Lance posted about the fact that the iPhone is having difficulty coping with telco giant mobile content offerings over in Australia. Lance puts it better than I could when he says that;

The news is that these services are not really wanted – and have only been used to date because it has been too hard and to expensive to do anything else with your phone. This walled garden approach went the way of AOL years ago in Internet space, and so it should in mobile Internet space.

I’ll keep saying this forever – [the Telcos] should stay out of the content game and in the provision of decent network game. As soon as they enter the content game then they are competing against the entire Internet – and that’s a game they will lose

I couldn’t agree more but that leaves a rather big question for the telco strategists to ponder. In this day of falling revenues from traditional telco services (landlines, tolls etc), where will that revenue be replaced?

To me it’s pretty simple and without wanting to harp on about my favourite theme, it’s about aggregation. One thing telcos do well is build large, robust infrastructure networks. They’ve also got decades experience at selling SaaS (after all what’s the difference between a plain old telephone line and SaaS? – both service delivered, both subscription based).

Put the two together and what can you create? A business model where the provider (the telco) aggregates together lots of discrete offerings and build the platform upon where they sit – the sort of stuff the telcos should be able to do add real value to are things like the billing systems and the integration part of bringing all these offerings to the users.

So yes Lance – I’m with you – give up on creating content but focus hard on bringing together lots of different content streams into one place.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Hamish MacEwen |

    Hmmm, I’d go further and say in the present and future telcos should stay out of the services game too, and focus on connection and packet exchange. The old telcos had a simple service that was extremely complex and expensive to implement, the exchange of conversation between end-points. Even answering machines used to live on the edge of the PSTN not the core.

    The difference, and I think it’s a critical one, is that POTS was pretty homogeneous and commoditised service (natural and legislative monopoly didn’t hurt either) while SaaS is anything but.

    Note that in the glory day of the telco, there was only one product, voice and no content, that was on the edge.

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