Mobile appstores for telecom operators

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Pierre Péladeau Roman Friedrich Mohssen Toumi Olaf Acker

Mobile App Stores for Telecom Operators The Next Battlefield

Contact Information Beirut Bahjat El-Darwiche Partner +961-1-336433 Hilal Halaoui Principal +961-1-336433 Dubai Karim Sabbagh Partner +971-4-390-0260 Düsseldorf Roman Friedrich Partner+49-211-3890-165 Düsseldorf/London Dr. Michael Peterson Partner +49-211-3890-140 Frankfurt Olaf Acker Principal +49-69-97167-453 Mumbai Jai Sinha Partner +91-22-2287-2001 Munich Gregor Harter Partner +49-89-54525-554 Martin Reitenspiess Partner New York Christopher Vollmer Partner +1-212-551-6794 Paris Pierre Péladeau Partner +33-1-44-34-3074 Mohssen Toumi Senior Associate +33-1-44-34-3131 San Francisco Karla Martin Partner +1-415-263-3712 Shanghai Edward Tse Senior Partner +852-3650-6100 Sydney Simon Gillies Partner+61-3-9221-1903 Tokyo Paul Duerloo Partner +81-3-6757-8615

Booz & Company


The mobile applications business has grown exponentially in just the past three years. On the back of the hugely popular iPhone, Apple’s App Store has quickly come to dominate the market, but rivals such as Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and Research inMotion Ltd. (RIM) are betting billions that they can catch up. So far, telecom operators have been late to the game. If they want to avoid the fate of becoming mere pipes for the ever more popular app stores, they must devise and implement strategies that take advantage of the very real assets they possess.
Because of their limited customer bases relative to the massive numbers being put up by Appleand other operating system vendors, operators playing alone lack the inherent ability to attract large numbers of application developers to their own stores, and they lack experience in managing open ecosystems of developer communities. What they do have are powerful brands, a strong relationship with their subscribers, and the ability to monetize that relationship. For operators, the key is notto try to reap the direct revenues from app sales, but rather to develop a strong apps offering that can help them increase average revenue per user (ARPU), improve customer acquisition, and reduce churn. To capture these benefits, operators have three options in building their own app stores: “closed” storefronts offering only apps that they develop or source themselves; “open” storefronts thatoffer access to third-party apps and app stores, with which they share revenue; and app stores for phones other than smart phones, primarily in developing markets through SIM services. Operators are by no means limited to any of these options; rather, they should pick and choose, depending on the OS and device providers they partner with, and on geography. What is critical is to ensure they play akey role as a retailer of apps by devising strategies—and executing them—now, before it’s too late.

Booz & Company



Here are some numbers sure to impress every corporate executive looking for sources of new growth. Within 10 months of its launch in the summer of 2008, Apple’s App Store had reached 1 billion downloads. The next billion took five more months; then,just three months later, in January 2010, customers had downloaded yet another billion apps. Apple doesn’t break out revenues for its App Store, but observers estimate that it could generate as much as US$3 billion in sales for Apple and its developers in 2010.

The success of Apple’s App Store has been driven largely by the global popularity of its iPhone. With more than 35 million units sold...
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