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Facebook is the most potent force in driving change across the mobile ecosystem. That’s according to co-founder & CEO of Exicon Stefan Rust, who here charts Facebook’s impressive catalogue of innovation and disruption…

After digesting some of the insights from Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Facebook, not Apple or Google, nor Ericsson or Cisco, and especially not Vodafone or China Mobile, is leading change in mobile.

By Q4 2017 Facebook will probably have it’s own global mobile network competing with operators Offering Free Communications (that’s how they will acquire customers) leveraging:

    Just when you think that Facebook must be topping out they add something else impressive to drive aggressive growth.

  • Facebook “connect” for activation
  • their own app store for developers to commercialize their apps
  • a mobile phone with better connections to their TIP** basestations
  • and advertising to commercialize the service

While Apple is working on getting the eSim into its mobile phones with the hope of targeting its 1B active iPhone by upgrade, it’s just a matter of time until the company launches its own global mobile network as well. Obviously it will continue to remain relevant as an entertainment company, appealing to the affluent mobile customers willing to pay for services that are designed to retain their privacy.

Google with Android, Youtube, Doubleclick, Project Fi, Jibe is also working to accelerate innovation in mobile. The company is monetizing mobile with its advertising platforms and deeplink search capabilities benefiting from any increase in time spent on mobile devices.  


But it’s really Facebook that is driving the pace of change with:

  • TV_vs_VRTelecom Infra Project which is open sourcing the base station antenna technology HW architecture, software OS and tools. This will do to the telecom infrastructure business what android did to the mobile handset industry.
  • The industry commitment to Virtual reality (VR) is largely thanks to the $2B acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook which in turn open sourced the tools for developers to build apps for Oculus Rift. Open-gear is becoming the new standard SDK for the mobile with Samsung being one of its strongest supporters.
  • Watch out for announcements with tools and a developer portal with API’s for developers to build apps on top of the Facebook Messenger platform during F8 in two weeks – opening their messaging platform even further to developers.
  • Facebook, with its customer base; developer community; and an eSIM will create a huge global mobile operator and likely will become Apple’s biggest competitor. At the same time, will the messenger be the new OS for the mobile device too?
  • Add to the above the presence and impact that Facebook apps have on mobile, and the company clearly has a 3.2 billion strong footprint in mobile already, in key categories like messenger, social, video and images – taking up close to 45 per cent of the three hours that consumers spend daily on their mobile devices.

Mobile operators are looking to counter these moves by lobbying against Facebook, as just happened in India, but its only a matter of time until this crumbles under the consumer pressure of seeking free communication services.

Messaging-as-the-platformThe eSIM will break the first barrier, and it might just be Apple that will pave the way, but it will be Facebook that offers its mobile service for free in return for the consumer sharing their data that will open the floodgates.

Apple will continue to charge a premium, but will protect user data.

In an attempt to find a commercial angle, telecom operators have pulled together and combined some two billion customers and have agreed to launch “mobile connect“.

They will need to roll this out rapidly at a local level “developer engagement” activities to ensure local enterprise and developers use mobile connect to identify and authenticate users within their apps.

For existing operators to remain relevant, they will need to invest in business model innovation, leveraging their network and spectrum as assets. This is still a hugely valuable asset with a number of innovative commercial ways to increase utilization and convert arbitrage into higher margins and revenue. 

Stefan_picture_photoStefan Rust

Founder & CEO


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To get a feel of what content and services are beginning to look like:-

Just when you think that Facebook must be topping out they add something else impressive to drive aggressive growth.

**”The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is an engineering-focused initiative driven by operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies that aim to reimagine the traditional approach to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure. Members include Facebook, Intel, Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe, SK Telecom and other operators, equipment providers, systems integrators and technology companies from around the world”

This post originally appeared on the Exicon Blog and is reused with permission.