Thursday, February 16, 2006

Barcelona wireless event all about convergence

The FT today ran a great piece on convergence as the key theme for the worlds number 1 wireless event just finishing up in Barcelona.

I think they're spot on and I'm reminded of an interview I had with a leading O2 executive not long ago when he told me that he thought the mobile phone industry could behave increasingly like the cable industry. Well that looks pretty spot on right now.

The problem is that not enough mobile operators are doing this. They talk about content but show little talent at packaging and distributing it succeefully to their users. As a result users turn to the wired Internet or even their iPod before reading news or listening to music or watching video on their phones.

For the one thing that cable companies learnt is that you have to provide eat all you can content packages for monthly fees not much more than $50. The mobile operators will never succeed until they figure out how to offer similar packages for even less - after all your mobile will always be a less impressive experience due to small screens and network latency.

Mobile operators need to behave like the content distributors they should be and need to alter their employee skillsets to reflect this. Until they do, my money's on the ESPN's and Virgin's to win in the mobile data space. I wonder how many other media savvy entities it will take to enter the mobile operator space before the telco's change.

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