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How Service Providers Enable the Connected Life

More than ever, access to local telecommunications network infrastructure has become an important part of the way many of us live, work, play and learn — throughout our daily routines. Some of us take it for granted – we expect that the network will simply be there, when and where we need it.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Without fail, it’s assumed to be omnipresent in our lives. By and large, that objective is purposefully reached, around the world. Truly, that’s an amazing accomplishment.

The Essential Telecom Infrastructure

As I’ve mentioned here before, I have worked for telecom service providers during much of my career. I’ve been an employee at several established wireline service providers. In contrast, I was the first employee of Iridium North America, back when it was a start-up pioneer of the satellite-based mobile communications sector.

Therefore, over the years, I’ve witnessed both notable success and failure – as the key investors provided the significant capital that’s required to build-out new infrastructure, and thereby assume the numerous risks associated with those strategic investments.

Every service provider, and its investors, would ultimately like to reap the rewards of successful new service launches. That return on investment is the source of some of the capital that’s needed to deliver the ongoing network capabilities and associated applications that their customers depend upon. It’s all part of a re-investment cycle that’s been at the core of the communications industry’s commitment for more than a century.

Let’s Celebrate Telecom Innovation and Investment

As a testament to their continued efforts, today I’m starting a new series of editorials where I celebrate a few examples from recent history — highlighting the service provider deployments that have enabled the Connected Lifestyles of their customers around the globe. Note; these summaries are excerpts from the Cisco Connected Life User Experience (CLUE) case studies.

The Vodafone 360 service is a cross-platform services play that embraces the Internet and social networking as well as mobile applications and content. It was first announced in September 2009.

Vodafone 360 consists of a variety of features, including a visual address book; Vodafone People, which aggregates contacts and other personal data across social networks and PC synchronization; an application store; and other services such as music, maps, and search.

The original offer included two signature semi-customized devices, the H1 and M1 from Samsung. Vodafone was faced with the following challenges in launching 360:

  • Vodafone 360 was a major undertaking and has had lots of competition.
  • According to Ovum, a developer ecosystem is crucial to the success of this undertaking. Vodafone will have to be equal to, if not better than, the ecosystem developed by the established providers.
  • Vodafone had limited experience in this field, and the competition for developers is fierce, with a growing number of players in this arena -- including Apple and Google.
  • Providing a consistent user experience across a variety of networks and a wide range of handsets was a challenge.
  • Customized devices, while optimizing user experience, are limiting and out of step with Vodafone’s open Internet model.
  • Ovum analysts feel that developers and consumers would quickly become disillusioned if the promise of Vodafone 360 could not be fulfilled on the wider range of supported handsets beyond the customized devices.

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3 Comments.


  1. Well, during the current recession the ROI for several telecom operators has dwindled globally even with the introduction of new services. I agree the user’s have now turned more dependent upon telecom service providers. No matter, it’s a mobile phone or internet connectivity via 3G platform we need connectivity to the Telecom Service Providers. A bit of termination in telecom services may lay a solid impact upon our routine tasks.

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  2. Vodafone has done most amazing marketing campaign in this part of the world (India). But, all these advanced features go almost 3-4 years lag to the US counterpart. Wish the time gap were shorter!!

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  3. David Deans

    @Usman, understood, the global recession has made new investment less likely – compared with before. However, SPs typically have forward-looking network planning cycles, so they try to anticipate demand. It requires a thoughtful balancing act.

    @DrRanjit, many of the developing nation policymakers believe that they are constantly in a catch-up mode. But because network infrastructure is now viewed as a lever for upward economic recovery, even some of the most developed nations believe that they need to accelerate their investment. The quest for broadband investment progress has been a theme for many of our editorials.

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