I firmly believe that most cell phone operators have lost the initiative in their own market. There are more and more technology breakthroughs and events that further marginalizes their role in providing communication services.
With Microsoft buying Skype, putting their PBX replacement Lync in the cloud and pushing hard for device independence for all your information; they start to become a big competitor on the communication services market.
Consider the following scenario:
Your company decides to rent Lync from Microsoft in the cloud, by then Microsoft has connected Skype’s dialing out capabilities with Lync in Office 365 and rolled out the Lync/Skype clients for their windows phone 7 and IPhone.
Now ask yourself this:
"Will you ever have to use the voice service of the cell phone operator again?”
The answer is simply no.
Another interesting example is the WhatsApp phone app. A simple SMS replacement with additional value add like sending your exact location using GPS-coordinates. This without the additional cost for sending sms.
The cellphone operator are getting marginalized to merely providing the infrastructure for 1’s and 0’s.
How did this happen? They are protecting their own investments more then they think about innovation.
So in the end they only have themselves to blame, after all, they could have invented Skype, they could have created PBX’s in the cloud, they could’ve anticipated that IP packages will be the communication going forward.
Instead they choose conservatism over innovation, bad choice. Services is the high-margin business, infrastructure the low-margin.