Telcos underestimate the power of Web 2.0

Arthur D. Little

Users' appetite for Web 2.0 services need to be fully supported in the mobile environment to avoid revenue decline, but first operators must overcome barriers such as sharing across companies and territories and high mobile data prices, walled gardens around content and exclusive proprietary formats, warns the global consultancy.

"The key drivers of today's internet growth are the users, who through web 2.0 can now create and distribute content instantaneously and globally in a manner not previously envisaged," said Richard Swinford, a senior manager in the Arthur D. Little Telecoms team

"In order to harness and monetise Web 2.0 the Telcos will have to rapidly address the needs of this community. Younger Europeans are already showing their readiness to interact on the move, with 38 per cent of them accessing e-mail from mobile devices. Telecommunications businesses now need to offer access to the established web 2.0 services, for both communication and for the fulfilment of their wider social needs whilst on the move."

It is clear that telcos need to act and fast. But players are now in a quandary as to whether they should compete with current Web 2.0 leaders or instead join forces and settle for the reduced margins partnerships produce.

Arthur D. Little's research reveals that most operators have opted to do the latter, a theory that is backed up by recent high-profile deals such as Vodafone and MySpace 3's X-Series partnerships with Google, Skype and YouTube.

The only alternative to this dilemma would be for telcos to completely opt out of the aggressive service-centric world and turn their attention to 'bit pipe' bandwidth delivery.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.