The changing mobile world

It has been a busy week or so in the mobile world.

The perpetual pressure on revenues has been ratcheted up a notch or three. Deutsche Telekom is battling to block the Skype application on the iphone that it sells in Germany. The never-ending regulatory battle to reduce call termination rates saw UK regulator Ofcom impose a 21% reduction with immediate effect. And the specter of satellite based competition reared it's head again as the European Commission is about to allocate S-band radio spectrum to enable the owners to potentially offer pan European Mobile services. Clearly sometimes bad news really does come in threes.

But the mobile operators are fighting back with action on new business and costs. Using mobiles as a substitute for credit cards has been growing in popularity in the east for some while. This week credit card giant Visa and Maxis announced a deal to offer this in Malaysia using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Looking at costs, recent moves by Telefonica and Vodafone in Europe to share networks, and Zain and Essar in Kenya to do the same, is all about sharing to reduce costs.

What all this activity shows is that the established order is changing rapidly. We are probably seeing the first moves towards resetting the established business model. In this new era revenues will come from a broader base, and cost structure will be radically different from what has come before. 2009 will be remembered as a year of big change in the mobile world.