I'll stick to my comments and continue to believe that regulation had a stronger impact on the mobile sector than the economic crisis. The recent announcement that the French telecom regulation authority eventually (after years after back and forth discussions and lobbying) granted the 4th 3G license to Free/Iliad (one of the largest ISPs) is a good example of that. The new entrant will not launch before early 2012 but aims at captuting 10% market share by introducing cheaper tariffs (a competitive 3 hour package for less than 20€), bundling Internet access and offering interesting conditions to MVNOs. Evolution of termination rates or roaming tariffs as well as other regulations on spectrum have a much greater impact on operators' bottom line than reduced spending from consumers.
Lots happened in 2009 but it wasn’t a vintage year for digital music (in fact it was the year it well and truly lost the digital buzz to eReaders). All in all I’d give 2009 a 6 out of 10, with the launch of Spotify accounting for at least couple of those points and the following as the 5 key disappointments:
Comes With Music under-whelmed (as did Play Now plus)
ISP services didn’t get off the ground (including unlimited MP3’s nearly but not quite moment)
Apple’s new killer music format was….oh iTunes albums
imeem gave a master class in how not to make money out of social music
The big boys (MySpace, Apple) snapped up the innovative competition (Lala, iLike, imeem)
So will be 2010 be any different?Though I don’t think it will be the year digital music will really come of age (that’s at least a couple more years away) I do expect it on balance to be a stronger one than its predecessor.Leaving aside the few specific developments I’m not able to talk about here are a few of my predictions:
Another interesting announcement was made this morning at the LeWeb conference in Paris, where Orange officially announced the launch of its Application Shop (available in beta in the UK and France for several months). This shop will first be available to 1 million customers in these two countries before being roll-out to millions more customers throughout 2010. For now it gives acess to 5,000 applications.
Replicating Apple's success will not be an easy task and operators should not follow this route. They should on the contrary leverage their key assets to offer: