With bated breath, the world waited on pins and needles at the end of January for the latest and greatest invention from Apple. Speculation was high that Steve Jobs would roll out a tablet computer, but once he unveiled the iPad and people finished oohing and aahing over the thin form factor, big screen and compatibility with iTunes and the App Store, the real scrutiny began.
And I’m not just talking about its sometimes-ridiculed name, but about the ramifications of the iPad on the communications industry. The good news is we’re living in a time when it seems every other week some cool new device – like the iPad or the latest smartphone from Nokia – hits the market. The bad news is it’s mostly the communications service providers (CSPs) who are left holding the bag as all of these data-hungry devices chew up bandwidth faster than it can be added to the network.
It’s crunch time
You can see this battle intensifying over the next couple of years as prices come down and smartphones and other devices become much more accessible to the average person. A tipping point for the industry was when Apple launched the iPhone 3GS and at the same time dropped the price of its base iPhone 3G from $199 to $99 in the US. That seems to be the magic number for many consumers and really helped spur sales of the now-ubiquitous device.
But as a high-level executive at
And this crunch is now accelerating faster than ever. We’ve gone from “having lots of mobile data
The growth of mobile data
So how do you do that? If you hope to survive this new world order of huge amounts of bandwidth on-demand, you have to severely cut your operating cost base. But as I’ve been saying about cost-cutting for years now, you have to be
While I’ve been espousing the concept of the “lean operator” for a while, I’m now hearing from service provider CIOs that there’s no longer any debate about whether it’s advantageous to become lean; it’s moved from if we’re going to do this to when, how and how fast.
Against a wall
With total telecom revenues forecast to increase by less than 2% globally in 2010, it’s clear that many markets around the world are just barely holding it together while others are actually in decline. CSPs that are seeing their fixed line markets rapidly shrinking and mobile services barely hobbling along need to take drastic measures to stay afloat. Reducing operating costs, automating processes and anything else they can do to take costs out of the business, without sacrificing the ability to offer future services such as 4G, are critical to the delicate balancing act they all face.
Keith Willetts is chairman and CEO of TM ForumThis article originally appeared on TM Forum’s Inside Leadership newsletter