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Jack Be Nimble

A browse through the latest venture capital investments shows a wave of new apps coming down the road that affect almost every aspect of modern life. Most will fail, which is to be expected, but those that succeed will cause disruption. The model of launching hundreds of new services to see which ones take off presents a challenge to incumbents in every industry.

Rather than suggest that they adopt a new philosophy overnight, here are three things that telcos should consider when addressing the app economy.

  • Services and networks should be considered separately. The regulators are applying a strict interpretation of net neutrality, so everyone is an OTT player, whether they like it or not.
  • Telcos might need to change the way they evaluate new initiatives. In the app economy, revenue streams don’t generally come down to line items on a monthly bill; nor does the app economy have unspoken rules that new services must not threaten existing revenue streams.
  • Telcos should encourage their employees to behave in the ways they already do outside of work. They should be adventurous. Try things and fail. Move on. Have fun.

3GPP TS 24.237 is a specification that governs one aspect of what we do in Cicero Networks (service continuity). The current version is 479 pages long. While it’s clearly important, I wonder what the people in WhatsApp and Skype are doing while we’re reading the specs.

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