Thursday, January 29, 2009

Financial crisis impact on Mobile Operators

According to a recent article from TMCnet, the financial and economic crisis starts affecting the Mobile industry.
It is however good to notice that, contrary to Manufacturers, Mobile Operators seem to be less impacted.
Why would that be? Would that not be more natural that, given the crisis, people reduce their traffic-related expenses, rather than handset-purchase expenses?
Or, would that not be natural to see a severe drop in Operators revenue? The maximum yet recorded (at least that I know of), is mentioned to be a 25% revenue shrink in some Indonesian Mobile Operators. Others have even improved year-to-year figures.

So, what's the explanation of such resiliance?

According to some models that I tend to believe, Mobile Operators should be looked upon as Commodities Suppliers, exactly like an Energy, Water or Gas company.
For a long time I thought this view was only applicable as far as differentiation is concerned (i.e. - doesn't make a lot of difference between air-time you buy from Orange, Vodafone, AT&T, Telia, NTT DoCoMo or whoever else).

Surprisingly, the "commodity" atributes apply to dependence as well, meaning that our lives depend more and more on mobile communication and those services are actually not the first ones we are ready to cut-off in case of consumption budget shrink.

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