Speed as a platform – discuss

In the days when personal computers were called personal computers and there were large trade shows dedicated to them, there was an interesting phenomenon. Screens were small but becoming larger, colour screens arrived, speed went from tediously slow to really quite fast. The online world arrived and a familiar sound was the fuzzy whining of a modem connecting over a dial up connection. Surfing was more like snoring.

At almost any point in what has been the fastest and more fascinating revolution in history, you could have some fun. You could ask a colleague whether their personal computer was fast enough. He or she would say yes. You would then take him or her down the corridor, sit him or her down in front of a faster, cooler more colourful personal computer and then take him or her back to their desk.

The fun bit was listening to them complain about how slow, uncool and uncolourful their computer was and why could we get decent ones. 

Once computers became sufficiently fast and colourful the personal computer market disappeared. At least from a trade show perspective. There was nothing to talk about anymore and we went on to figure out what we could put in to a personal computer to make our own lives better, richer and more efficient.

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Speed in the digital world is table stakes. So is connectivity. And once you have speed and proper connectivity (please note mobile operators in the UK) then you have a launch pad for innovation.

LTE is therefore table stakes for digital innovation for operators. 

With LTE, you can figure out what to deliver to any device to make our lives better, richer and more efficient. Examples are emerging on almost a daily basis. This excellent paper from Openet provides their ‘top ten’ operator examples and use cases that LTE makes possible. Some examples are based on speed itself – and are therefore hopefully short lived. For the moment, however, some speed deals are tied into an intuitive need. A customer on a lower speed package might be accessing a video site and so a message offering extra speed and quality might be perfect. It makes more sense than Netflix simply sending a message saying that your operator’s network seems to be congested, blame them.

Now operators are bundling Over the Top (OTT) applications. Vodafone UK, with their 4G ‘Red’ service are offering Netflix free for six months. T-Mobile in the Netherlands are selling Deezer, which benefits Deezer and T-Mobile. 

Shared data is dramatically increasing revenue and loyalty for AT&T, who are also experimenting with sponsored data. LG U in South Korea is now using LTE for 100 percent of its voice calls, and, at least in theory, their costs must be much lower and they must be sighing with relief that they are now able to switch off costly legacy systems.

Speed plus real time responsiveness and intuitive analytics will bring untold opportunities and benefits for operators. According to Openet’s paper, which cites a recent operator survey, 84 percent of operators will be investing in ‘solutions for smart upsell offers, triggered by real time contextual information’ within the next two years.

So, bring on the speed and let the innovation commence.

Related: Speed sells and speed sells stuff too.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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