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Consolidation vs. innovation

Week 39, 2009

At the same time, the future of Sprint in the US is uncertain, rumors abound about a potential takeover of Sprint by Deutsche Telekom, that would also lead to a consolidation of the US mobile network operator environment. In other parts of the world mergers and acquisitions are ongoing, or under way, let’s just quote Zain, Telecom Italia Media, MTN, …

At first sight, players from the smart card industry may consider consolidation is bad news: if mobile network operators are larger, they will increase their pressure on prices, thus reducing even more than now margins on SIM cards. The risk is by increasing the pressure on their suppliers, mobile network operators will trigger a price war leading to a commodity market; standardized products, and differentiation on price only.

An operator lands cape populated with few large operators is not always detrimental to our industry: larger players feel they are in a more comfortable long term position, thus have more will - and more means – to innovate for the mid and long term expansion of their activities. This is where collaborative projects with the SIM card industry come in. And where innovation is favorable for all parties: mobile network operators as well as SIM vendors.

Innovation is the fuel of all high tech industries. And the need for technology and marketing innovation is not a matter of size or intensity of competition. Innovation is in the genes of many mobile network operators, and, of course, in the genes of the smart card industry.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights