Why does the USA say “texting” and other places, particularly Europe, say “SMS”? How many people know what SMS (Short Messaging Service) means?
Much more recently, why do all of the tier-one wireless carriers in the USA refer to their fourth generation (4G) cellular service offering as LTE (Long Term Evolution)? How many consumers know what LTE means (that’s it’s the name of a cellular standard) or would even care if you explained it to them?
Why did T-Mobile USA refer to the HSPA standard (that they were rolling out) as “4G” before the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) designated it as a 4G technology?
Why was this “LTE” terminology so important that there could have been litigation?
The answer is: Branding and Market Positioning
The point is that the wireless carrier ecosystem is fiercely competitive and the mobile network operators have learned over the years that capturing “mindshare” or the hearts and minds (so to speak) of their customers (and potential customers they can steal from competitors) is very important.
Each carrier wants to position its own brand in the marketplace as being the most up-to-date, best value, fastest, most reliable, easiest to use, etc.
Even more recently, we have Samsung claiming to be developing 5G technology to be available in 2020.
What will it be like? The company claims that using its new adaptive array transceiver technology, such bands can work for high-speed cellular networks, and that the technology allows it to transmit data in the millimeter-wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz at a speed of up to 1.056 Gbps to a distance of up to 2 kilometers.
That would represent a considerable leap above current 4G bandwidth. However, the reality is often much different than the theoretical and 2020 is a long time from now.
In marketing terms, what is important is not the actual speed so much as being considered as being the best service provider.
In this regard, the carriers better be careful, because our research indicates that the smartphone and application store era is causing end-users to start to identify more with their application, content, and commerce providers more than their communications providers. Even worse, with the advent of the so-called over-the-top (OTT) VoIP and messaging providers, the communications providers are not even the carriers. The carriers are relegated to providing only raw (e.g. non-value-added) data providers.
This all underscores the need for carriers to be very careful to do the following:
- Be VERY careful how they define/position themselves
- Develop mobile value-added services (MVAS)
- Develop a variety of MVAS including content, commerce, communications, and applications
- Develop strategic partnerships with trusted third-parties
- Maintain a developer program for the non-trusted parties
- Continue to open up the network via various API interfaces
- Finally, coordinate #’s 5 and 6 above so that certain core capabilities are available to trusted parties
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