M2M: An exciting new frontier for mobile operators

The machine-to-machine sector could simply be seen as yet another extension to a mobile operator's portfolio of services. The majority of operators are implementing plans to deploy M2M platforms and services, and the largest have already gained tens of millions of subscribers.

But this apparent vision of normality is far from reality given the complexities of launching M2M services across numerous business verticals.

Key to the success is accepting that the M2M business model is substantially different from what operators have become comfortable with for the past 25 years.

In recognition of this, operators are now building entirely separate M2M business divisions where the only significant commonality with their existing voice and data business is the wireless connectivity. In almost every other aspect M2M is fundamentally different and requires a fresh approach.

This challenge opens up exciting opportunities for operators and the numerous partners required in the M2M value chain. But key to any new venture is understanding the business model and building an ecosystem to enable it to flourish and grow.  

As one industry expert summed it up to me: "If operators get the costing right and manage it correctly, then it'll be profitable."

Sounds simple? For further insight into this complex but intriguing business, check out this special report on the M2M business model in the European market.--Paul