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Future of Mobile Commerce (Vodafone 2005)

A new strategic space for mobile telephony

Who would have guessed the delay of 3G? Or anticipated the challenge for business models of network operators? A full scenario process for Vodafone in [2005] explored the changing landscape of 3rd generation mobile telephony. It found a new strategic space emerging that questioned official assumptions about the future of mobile commerce. The scenarios successfully anticipated the dot-com crash, the recession that followed, the failure of WAP, the emergence of WiFi, and the dominance of SMS.

From the Driving Forces and Uncertainties

A maturing market: More than 80% of the population in most European countries use mobile phones. The market for mobile voice is maturing, which means much lower prices in the long run.

Substitute technologies and open network competition: Telecommunication companies traditionally competed by efficiently managing restricted space. Open technologies and open access networks fundamentally change the basis of the prevailing business models of network operators.

Ubiquitous WiFi: The cost of WiFi chips have dropped to $5. We can now expect WiFi chips to be inserted in everything. With base stations multiplying, and a provider like Cloud experiencing 5% – 7% usage growth per week, we can anticipate a vast bottom-up network to emerge.

Edge intelligence: Mobile devices are increasingly intelligent. For example, routing is now done by intelligence embedded in the device, challenging a central domain – routing calls – previously associated with network intelligence.