In a frank admission that it needn't push for more content-driven revenue, Vodafone's content services director, Lee Epting, has suggested that it might be timely for operators to consider reducing the share of revenue from apps sold through their stores.
According to Epting, mobile operators are about selling tariff plans, "and the way we're going to sell tariff plans and differentiate ourselves is by having the best content proposition on the high street or wherever."
However, the exec cautioned that operators shouldn't necessarily have to generate revenue from all the content sold via their app stores. "We should maybe look at dropping the pants on those rev-share deals and giving it back to the developers to let them monetise it."
While hoping that these comments would spark debate on this long-running issue, Epting added that app developers could expect "meaningful" results from the pan-operator Wholesale Application Community (WAC) initiative within the next year. Little has been heard of WAC since it was announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year under the guidance of the GSMA.
Seemingly unconcerned by admitting that mistakes had been made, Epting said that Vodafone's 360 launch had been flawed compared to Apple's App Store. However, Vodafone's global scale would be a critical factor in the future success of 360 as it improves the service, he said.
Interestingly, the company has announced that the leading mobile operator in Russia, MTS, will launch a suite of web services based on 360 tools and user interfaces in the fourth quarter.
This notable victory for 360--which follows on from MTS signing a branding and marketing agreement with Vodafone--will see the cloud-based web services platform adapted to the Russian market. MTS is likely to follow Vodafone's approach and focus 360 towards the mass market rather than cutting edge mobile web users, with a particular emphasis on integrated social networking and messaging.
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