If you think about the concept of the data plan it’s rather abstract. From the consumer’s perspective, unless they’re an information theorist, the data plan doesn’t relate to the value they get from their smartphones – namely apps and services. Moreover, the mobile industry’s strict adherence to this one-dimensional access model has limited the full business opportunity of the mobile Internet.
When Syntonic started its business several years ago, the reaction we received from mobile operators was 100% buy-in to our vision – the future opportunity is not in access but in applications and services. However back then, times were good for mobile operators and the standard success metrics, such as ARPU, retention, and added subs didn’t map into the new business models we were proposing.
Fortunately, there is evolution taking place to move beyond the data plan, transforming the access currency from megabytes to content and applications, which can better capture the full monetization potential of the mobile Internet. The forcing function for this transformation varied by market.
In developed economies, such as the U.S. where market penetration for mobile access is high, data has become a commodity where the only means for differentiation was price. With the reality of declining ARPUs, mobile operators have been forced to consider new content-based models that provide differentiated advantage to grow ARPUs.
In emerging markets, where mobile access was far from achieving market saturation, the opposite problem surfaced: data pricing limited consumer access to content and apps. That created economic problems for the mobile industry: carriers and brands can’t monetize disconnected or infrequently connected consumers.
Mobile operators, app developers, content providers, and consumers are all in position to benefit by the transformation from data access to content services with Syntonic’s Connected Services Platform.