14 March 2009

Australian Smart Phone Business Models: Budde Telstra Serendipty

Two blog posts arrived in my reader this morning, one from Paul Budde and one from Telstra. In More Cracks Appearing in Mobile Market , Paul Budde wrote:

When I wrote the BuddeComm analysis on the introduction of Apple’s iPhone I commented that the most significant element of this event was that it would begin to create cracks in the flawed business models of the mobile operators, who are desperately hanging on to their closed networks ...
They could have built a range of value-added mobile infrastructure and wholesale services that could have been used by others, such as Apple and Google, to deliver the products and services they have on offer. But instead - driven by greed - they failed to so and this is the price the mobile operators are going to pay. They simply can’t hold back the tide any longer. In saturated mobile markets with a competitive environment there is no doubt that cracks will appear. Those who are clever enough to see the writing on the wall are looking at new opportunities in this market. E-Plus, 3 and T-Mobile are among the operators who are at least exploring these new models.
Around the same time, this Telstra announcement  on the Nokia's latest smart phone, the N85, said:
"The Nokia N85 combines a state of the art 5MP camera with an 8GB memory card which is perfect for downloading and storing music and videos from the huge range BigPond mobile has to offer....
"The combination of this highly featured device with Telstra's wide range of advanced mobile content and applications like Sensis Search, Whereis and Trading Post give customers unrivalled value and opportunities to enjoy all the benefits of the largest and fastest mobile network in Australia - the Next G" network....
"The Nokia N85 gives customers access to 3G applications like Mobile FOXTEL from Telstra, BigPond TV and Whereis Navigator with in-built GPS capabilities. "
This was a minuscule sample of one press release but it looked like Telstra were using this smart phone to drive traffic to their value-add retail services, not the "range of value-added mobile infrastructure and wholesale services that could have been used by others" that Budde suggested was the optimal play.

BTW, Telstra's price for the N85 was RRP $1199 with a plan of 24 months @ $100/month for a total cost of $3600 over 2 years. Compare this to some other recent Australian smart phone releases .

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