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From Mobile Operator to Mobile Broker
Roll out of the new services is a key goal for all mobile operators as the revenue grow from standard
voice and data services diminishes and the space for new client acquisition is limited. There are two
approaches in introduction of new services. The first one is based on utilizing new technologies like
MMS, UMTS etc. The disadvantage of this approach is related high costs. The second approach is
based on transition of mobile operators into mobile brokers. Brokers deliver the set of partners’
services to customers. Their value added is in:
• Offering of the appropriate mix of services for each scenario described by customer’s situation
and related need,
• Providing these services instantly,
• Lowering the barriers of utilization of these services.
Although also the second scenario requires additional investments, they’re limited and could be easily
shared with partners. Let us focus on an example of a “customer situation - related needs” scenario.
It’s based on assumption that customer uses an ideal combination of mobile phone and pocket
computer so called mobile PC. Nevertheless the scenario alternatives make the scenario applicable
also while the current or slightly improved technologies are used.
Example of “Customer Situation - Related Needs” Scenario
• Reads the interview with a singer in printed magazine. There is a bar code at the end of the
article. Customer reads the bar code by his mobile PC. Mobile PC translates the bar code into
• Listen the song or interview with a singer in a radio integrated in his mobile PC. Radio station
transmits the WWW address related to song or interview via RDS signal simultaneously.
The WWW page containing the following choices is opened in mobile PC’s WWW browser:
• Listen to the songs from the last CD,
• Buy singer‘s CDs or books,
• Buy tickets to the concert,
• Send tickets to the concert with flowers
as a gift,
• Drink the coffee mentioned in the
interview in coffee shop „Coffito“ free of
• Record nearest singer’s performance in
• Read more about signer on the singer’s
• Read more articles about singers,
• Recommend the article to someone else,
• See other articles which the readers of
this article read,
• Send & read comments to the article,
The example shows how the mobile technology dramatically reduces the customer’s effort necessary
for closing the deal based on the information delivered to customer by various communication
Scenario Alternatives and Notes
1. It could be the singer of some minor genre. Niche markets with could be covered by this
technology at low cost.
2. Bar code could be accomplished by unique www address like
http://www.reflex.cz/start/arvopart200303 at the end of the article for the customers without
3. The song or interview could be listened also via car radio or home hi-fi system. Mobile PC
could record the surrounding sound, tune automatically the same radio station and receive
appropriate RDS signal.
4. WWW addresses of previous songs and interviews could be buffered in mobile PC for later
usage. They could be also just marked as „interesting“ by pushing single button in the
situation like driving the car.
5. Internet or mobile communication channel could be utilized in the same way as paper and
radio media in this example.
6. Transmitting the song in format storable on mobile PC could be charged extra.
7. The fees for all services like bought of CDs, books, tickets could be billed as a common
voice/SMS services. Additional authentication could be applied like in an Internet banking.
8. Singer’s TV performance could be record via TV receiver in mobile PC. If the mobile PC is
programmed as home TV-video set controller it could transfer appropriate command to home
the TV-video set alternatively. Moreover transferring this command could be postponed on
time, when the TV-video set is reachable.
Above described scenario engaged radio and TV broadcaster, newspaper publisher, advertiser (coffee
shop), ticket provider, entertainment provider, CD and bookshop. The key role of the mobile operator
is the role of the broker, which synchronizes the activities of all its partners. It brings the following
sources of revenue:
• Commissions if anything is bought via mobile channel,
• Advertising fees (impact of an advertisement could be measured if discounts are offered if
appropriate password published via web is applied),
• Usage growth.
Moreover there are more intangible impacts like:
• Improved customer loyalty coming from delivered value added,
• Better knowledge of customers as the key enterprise asset for further business development.
Extending the Concept – An Ideal Mobile PC
The broker concept of covering various “customer situation - related needs” scenarios could be
applied on the current or slightly improved technologies (e.g. adding bar code reader into mobile
device). Nevertheless the business potential of the concept could further extent dramatically.
The only prerequisite is the consolidation of various single-purpose devices into one flexible multi-
purpose mobile device. It’s the same strategy that was applied on classical PC market:
• Standardize the components, interfaces and chasses,
• Let various manufactures produce the components,
• Build the final devices tailored to customer needs.
Classical PC market could be source of other useful analogies:
• Sub-notebook versus desktop PC = several types of chasses brings flexibility. - Mobile device
in the format of mobile phone can be easily transported on the other hand mobile device with
A4-size display could be used for reading electronic books.
• Client-server architecture = server PCs offer various services controlled via client PCs – E.g.
gas boiler as “server” mobile device can be controlled via mobile phone.
• Functionality implemented by software, not hardware – it brings flexibility and lowers
The following table lists the examples of components, which could be used for enhancing the
capabilities of customer’s mobile device based on his/her needs.
• Universal infrared controller (for TVs, hi-fi
sets, lighting, garage etc.)
• Bar code reader (for connection with
• Radio receiver with RDS
• TV receiver
• 100Mb LAN adapter (for direct connection
to common computer network)
• USB adapter
• Bluetooth adapter
• GPRS module (for connection to mobile
• GSM module
Probes for Various Purposes
• Manometer (e.g. for medical purposes)
• Gas detectors (for gas analysis)
• GPS module (detailed maps are currently
available but not so widespread because
of price of the whole GPS device)
• MP3 encoder/decoder
• Additional hard disk (currently used e.g.
in MP3 players Nomad by Creative Labs)
• Memory cards of various formats
• Additional batteries (e.g. 2-3 A3 batteries
for hard disk power)
• Classical mobile phones formats
• Chasses with displays of A4formats
• Server chasses with no displays and
control elements but only GSM or
Market Products or “Customer Situation - Related Needs” Scenarios?
The capability to deliver various devices in a single device is strong. Nevertheless the key advantage
is somewhere else. It’s in the synergy coming from the integration of these devices in order to cover
particular customer need. Let say that the manometer connected to patient’s body automatically inform
doctor about unusual state, the doctor can analyze the situation and inform patient about necessary
next steps. Therefore market these scenarios seems to be much more reasonable than market new
Mobile operators can increase their revenue by implementation new technologies like MMS or UMTS.
More cost effective way could be switching mobile operators to mobile brokers. Mobile brokers
combine services of various partners in order to fulfill particular “customer situation-related need”
scenario. This has direct impact on the mobile operator’s revenue but has also other intangible results
like improved customer loyalty or better customer knowledge as a key corporate asset.
Mobile PC as a mobile device extendable by various modules as the alternative of current single-
purpose devices is a logical next step in implementation of mobile broker’s concept. It dramatically
expands the target market and related revenue sources.