An obvious role for operators and service providers is to provide the wide area network connectivity to M2M devices connected via concentrators, local area networks or directly. The fixed to mobile trend is strong and includes replacing fixed phones in homes with mobile subscriptions, replacing PBX and fixed telephony in offices with a Centrex PBX solution (PBX functionality provided in the network by an operator) and mobile phones which is very popular in Northern Europe, replacing fixed broadband data connections (like ADSL) to 3G or LTE connections, moving or replacing M2M terminals from the fixed phone networks to mobile networks across all markets (i.e. elevators, fax machines, alarms, care phones and level gauges) and the emerging use of small base stations (i.e. pico cells). The fixed to mobile efforts almost always include some M2M devices and since fixed phone network operators can’t see what is behind the first socket at the customer premises these efforts are quite difficult to plan for.
Most mobile operators are already providing subscriptions for M2M and there are some 130 million of them in use globally (Berg Insight) with more than 90% of them using 2G. Since the mobile M2M market is immensely fragmented there are opportunities to bring to market a lot of different subscriptions and mobile operators are working hard to find the optimal level of differentiation and customization with supporting business models. Use of MVNO (mobile virtual network operators) and resellers models (reselling mobile operator subscription), operator alliances, partner programs, use of service enablement platforms (to take care of some of the tasks of the M2M application), innovative subscriptions (i.e. up-front payment for lifetime service and traffic), complete solutions for specific markets and obviously price are examples of things considered. Mobile operators in general consider the M2M opportunity very interesting and difficult to figure out at the same time.
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