Mobile networks have long been considered to be a niche, but now, mobile network marketers say, they’re poised to play a major role in how we interact with the world.
The rise of mobile-enabled applications, however, has left some networks scrambling for revenue.
So why is mobile network marketing (MMR) the most important of the new industries in which network marketers are making their presence felt?
That’s a question many are asking as network marketing gains momentum in emerging markets.
The industry is growing fast, but its growth has slowed, analysts say, and it’s now competing with other industries that are seeing a steady increase in mobile revenues.
The growth of mobile has helped push up average revenue per user (ARPU), or the total number of customers that a network generates.
Mobile operators now account for more than 40% of mobile traffic, up from 23% a decade ago.
That percentage is projected to climb to 42% by 2020, according to Gartner Inc.
Mobile operators have been struggling to meet growing demand for services like video conferencing, voice and video chat.
But with mobile networks becoming more ubiquitous, the demand for new services and services that require more bandwidth is also increasing.
This makes them increasingly important for mobile network operators, analysts at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse wrote in a recent research note.
As the demand increases, so does the need for mobile operators to manage and deliver those new services.
Mobile network operators have to provide those services, and that requires new network infrastructure, like networks and data centers, said Matthew McBride, an analyst with Morgan Stanley.
For example, network operators will likely have to invest more in new infrastructure in areas where demand is growing.
“It’s going to take a lot of resources to do this in the next decade,” McBride said.
“Mobile network markets have a number of potential applications for mobile business,” said Ryan Trenberth, a principal analyst with the research firm IDC.
He said mobile operators are “building more of an array of products and services than ever before” to meet the demands of new consumers.
“They’re doing this by looking for new and better ways to get people online.”
As the mobile industry grows, so too does the demand that mobile operators will have to manage.
It is now more important than ever to deliver and manage that growth.
“As network economics shift, it becomes more important for the operators to grow, and they are going to do so by providing more services to their customers,” McByrne said.
“The mobile network is going to be increasingly important to mobile operators for the long term.”
How do mobile networks get to be so big?
The growth of new mobile networks has been fueled by a combination of factors, such as the growth of Internet-connected devices and apps, and the increasing number of apps that use data, which is often a form of network traffic.
This has pushed the network growth to new levels.
“There’s definitely been a shift in the industry,” said David Ebers, an independent network and communications analyst.
“Mobile operators are taking more and more of the network operations and monetizing it through apps.”
Ebers added that “we see a lot more mobile and social advertising coming out of mobile operators, and as the industry gets bigger and more connected, it will drive a lot higher monetization of that.”
As apps and devices proliferate, so do the demand and demand for networks.
But as networks grow, so will the demand.
That means network operators must keep up.
“You’re going to have a higher demand for network capacity, and you’re going do it with a more diverse array of network providers,” Ebers said.
And, with more networks on the market, the amount of data that mobile networks will have is going up.
In the coming years, mobile operators and network providers will have more and better data infrastructure, according Ebers.
That will be especially important as mobile networks become more important to the economy.
“For mobile networks, this is a real opportunity,” he said.
Mobile networks will become more crucial in areas like health care, transportation, financial services and others, Ebers added.
Mobile network operators may have to grow in order to compete with the companies that are competing with them.
“These are very competitive markets,” said Michael Schoettle, an industry analyst at Strategy Analytics.
“I think you’re likely to see some consolidation, especially if you start to see the rise of more network operators.”
As networks grow more efficient, mobile networks are also going to need to keep up with increasing traffic and increasing demand.
“We’re seeing the emergence of new devices and services, which are now becoming more pervasive in the marketplace,” said Rolf Stadler, a research analyst at IDC and an industry consultant.
“Network operators will need to become more efficient in terms of their data utilization, and more efficient than they’ve been