This interesting article over at tech.co.uk about the decreasing role of the mobile phone networks in the new mobile world that has Google and Apple at the business end of the table has got me thinking about what the future holds for the UK Mobile operators.
With mobile networks giving us the option of as many anytime, any network minutes and texts for a set amount per month do you really care which mobile network you are with anymore?
A few years ago 3 had a hard time getting anyone on their network due to the poor network coverage but these days I rarely hear of people complaining of poor network coverage, even on 3!
The web savvy users of this and other mobile phone sites seem to only care about the cheapest deal that allows them to get the handset they want, with the right amount of inclusive minutes and texts every month that allows them to budget X amount per month and never overspend.
I know I and other mercenary mobile phone users like me have no real loyalty to any one network anymore. For example I have no amazing allegiance to o2’s web portal or Vodafone’s live service as I go to www.google.co.uk on my unlocked windows mobile smartphone whenever I am out about town and couldn’t tell you what unique services either provide currently. I remember my wife had a 3 mobile for a while that allowed her to see how many mintues and texts she had remaining on the home screen – this looked handy but I never get near my oodles of inclusive minutes / texts allowance so wouldn’t be that interested in this feature really.
In fact the only time I ever overspend is if I have been too lazy to find an internet cafe to use Skype to phone home whilst abroad! However these days you don’t even need an internet cafe as your smartphone can use a decent wifi connection to make calls using it’s inbuilt wifi and skype configuration 🙂
Over the last few years I have been contracted to Orange, Virgin, O2 and Vodafone purely because a particular deal was available that my then network wouldn’t match due to my miserly monthly spend and surely I am not alone?
With Google, Skype and others like Yahoo providing network indepedent must have mobile applications are the networks likely to simply turn into any other commodity despite their massive advertising budgets?