After a slightly longer break than planned the team are back with a new(ish)-look season 7!
This week we talk to Dan Lane, COO at Simwood and previously Head of Special Projects at Truphone, for his view on the future of mobile networks. We discuss 'apps in the network' and making mobile networks 'open' with interfaces that allow external services to control and interact with them. Could we be in for a not-so-dumb pipe after all? Dan certainly thinks so and believes mobile networks need to open up with APIs so others can build on their capabilities. He's sceptical they will though so he's doing it himself.
Ewan says he doesn't believe mobile operators have innovation in their make-up and he's tired of waiting. He can't understand why these firms would waste the unique advantages they have as the network operators to offer a wider (and more exciting) range of services. Ewan's impatient for better location services.
Rafe says the commercial realities don't stack-up. There's no revenue incentive for the big operators (who make plenty of money, thanks) to innovate and open up in the way Dan Lane suggests - the smaller providers, he concedes, might be able to attract some enterprise users though. He suggests the 'Internet of Things' is more likely to drive network innovation in ways that will be more interesting. Rafe would love to see software-based SIMs that allowed devices to be reconfigured when needed.
Ben says blanket coverage is an inevitability but isn't really 'innovative'. He wonders how long the networks can afford to rest on their laurels - everyone gets disrupted eventually... don't they? Ben wants mobile networks to be smarter and to offer services tailored for different types of uses, possibly even replacing fixed-line.
Tell us what you think - we'll report the results in a future episode. If you want to say more, drop us a comment!