In this business, “monetization” is often a nice way to say “profits”.   And profits usually come at someone else’s expense.

But what if I told you you could be profitable giving away your product?  Further, what if I told you you could be profitable, and your customer would also make money in the deal?

Too good to be true?  Not at all.  Telefonica’s O2 UK has found a way to give away mobile broadband service and make money doing it.

When O2 set out to build their Wi-Fi business in the UK, they worked from four basic principles: make it open, make it free, make it simple, and make it the best.

Sounds like a mobile consumer’s dream, doesn’t it?  But how to make money from it?  O2 is a consumer-focused business, but they are a business, after all.

The idea is as simple and elegant as their network:  Partner with retail outlets to offer Wi-Fi through in-store access points, track aggregate consumer shopping patterns through the intelligent mobile network, then sell that shopper data back to the retailer.

In this way, O2 is able to generate profits by selling its unique network intelligence, the retailer is able to generate profits by using that intelligence to develop customized and targeted offers for consumers, and consumers benefit by having free access to a highly reliable, high-performance mobile broadband network in thousands of commonly frequented locations.  It is the all-too-rare win-win-win.

This B2B2C business model, built on Cisco’s intelligent Next-Generation Mobile Internet architecture, is exactly the monetization model that we have envisioned for quite some time.  It is gratifying to see a leading mobile operator like O2 embrace this model so fully and implement it so effectively.  Our hats are off to the visionaries at O2.

To hear first-hand from one of O2’s leading visionaries, Gavin Franks, take a look at this short video:


To learn more about how Cisco is working with Service Providers and Enterprises to enable profitable, differentiated mobile services, see my friend Sujai Hajela’s recent blog on our new Connected Mobile Experience solution.

And for more information on all of Cisco’s Mobile Internet Solutions, including Wi-Fi, go to www.cisco.com/go/mobile.