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New/Non-Neutral Mobile Data Monetisation Report

Published June 2014, updated January 2015

156 pages, 54 Tables & 42 Figures/Charts. 
Jan'15 update has further 35 pages & 19 charts.

Interim update includes revised forecasts with geographic regional analysis, discussion of zero-rating, regulation trends, app-based charging models, impact of encryption & Apple's iPad programmable SIM card


New & Non-Neutral Mobile Broadband Monetisation Models will generate $25bn in 2019 - just 6% of total mobile Internet/data access revenue

Disruptive Analysis has published a major study into the viability and potential scale of over 25 forms of "non-neutral" mobile broadband & Internet business models.

Email information AT disruptive-analysis to request an Exec Summary

2014 has seen huge shifts around the concept of Net Neutrality - the FCC has revealed details of new proposals, while the European Parliament voted for a harder version of neutrality than many in the telecoms industry wanted. 
Lobbyists, activists and the wider telecoms and web industries are flooding the media and blog/twitterspheres with commentary, opinion and predictions of what might happen if Net Neutrality is/isn't enforced. Questions, rumours and myths about what may happen, if mysterious and vaguely-defined "Specialised Services" are permitted over broadband networks. Many observers have confused peering deals (eg Comcast/Netflix) with QoS-prioritised services, even though that is an entirely different issue.


But a deeper set of questions is being overlooked:
  • What are the possible outcomes for mobile network operators in a world, where discrimination of data traffic on the basis of price or QoS is permitted? 
  • What are the realistic use-cases that might get applied? 
  • Who might pay for what services or capabilities? 
  • What is already happening in markets with more relaxed laws?
  • Can "two-sided business models" work in mobile broadband?
  • Will operators be able to charge users "per-application"?

... and the elephant in the room - are any of the non-neutral models actually viable or valuable anyway? Is it actually worth the effort & cost of new equipment, software - and lawyers and lobbyists?

The answer? It may be worthwhile, but only just. Models like sponsored data, QoS-enhanced services and application-based charging might account for just 6% of overall mobile Internet/broadband revenues in 5 years' time. Zero-rating of some content will also encourage some users to switch provider, or start on the first rung of mobile Internet use. Two-sided business models might yield 2% of overall mobile data revenues.

Another theme is that some types of non-neutrality are less controversial than others. Some applications are really just about mobile broadband rather than access to the Public Internet. Mobile operators and regulators should focus first on the former - enterprise connections, leading-edge M2M & IoT uses of cellular, public safety data applications and maybe paid data for mobile advertising. Conversely, so-called "fast lanes" for mobile video or applications are complex to achieve, cause huge controversy and - in the final analysis - likely won't be worth much anyway.

Lobbyists, politicians, telco execs and regulators need to "pick their battles" better.
One of the key themes is that new mobile data and Internet models are much harder to create than fixed non-neutral services. The realities of radio networks, device OS's, content/app consumption and policy/core infrastructure are hugely different and much more complex. 

Disruptive Analysis has been following mobile data and broadband markets for over 10 years, watching the evolution from "multimedia" to open Internet, especially with the landmark introductions of Apple iPhone and Huawei USB modem in 2007. Two years ago, Disruptive Analysis published a report giving 10 reasons why the concept of "toll-free apps" was virtually impossible to realise. Today, indeed, none exist. The conclusions were correct. 

This report is the first comprehensive analysis of the most important "non-neutral" use-cases in mobile broadband. It looks beyond vendor hype about policy-management, to examine the qualitative factors driving potential adoption and monetisation. Each sector is discussed in terms of technical, commercial and enviromental considerations, and both direct and indirect revenues are considered in a framework-style approach.

Purchasers will also receive the new Jan'15 update (35 pages).


Email information AT disruptive-analysis to request an Exec Summary

Table of contents - January 2015 update (35 pages)

Regulatory developments

  Net neutrality, the FCC and Title II
New services, vendors & “monetisation” angles
Encryption effect: DPI goes dark, Google wins?
  What is happening? What are the implications?     
  The politics – IETF, OWA, GSMA, Google etc  
Apple SIMs     
Peering and interconnect         
User-driven policy management         
Revised & extended market model
  Geographic regional trends
  Overall non-neutral market forecasts       

Table of contents - Main 2014 Report

Executive summary          
  Why non-neutrality is an issue for mobile operators            

  Major practical challenges to creating non-neutral models              

  Analytical frameworks for assessing new models  

  Forecasts & recommendations    

Mobile broadband & Internet: Market dynamics 


  Mobile Internet vs. mobile data   

  History and the emergence of Mobile Internet      

  Mobile data & Internet market size & penetration             

  Mobile Internet access: implications for operators & vendors         
  Developed-market saturation      
  Two-sided business models for mobile data/Internet          

  Traffic growth & congestion         

  The “OTT threat”              

Neutrality: relevance, regulation & controversy    

  Net Neutrality defined    



  Disruptive Analysis house view: avoiding confirmation bias              

  The main arguments        

  2014: Regulatory turmoil & status update               

  US Net Neutrality developments 

  What is a “specialised service”?   

Non-neutral broadband: Generic challenges           

  1. No clear definition of “an app” or “service”       

     Multi-app experiences     

     Partial-app experiences  

  2. Business Model Fit       

     International challenges 

  3. Apps’ data usage is device-dependent  

  4. Devices, OSs & QoS / non-neutrality     

  5. HTML5 changes the game again          

  6. Poor fit with WiFi use and femtocell offload      

  7. OSS/BSS challenges     

  8. Pricing, selling & marketing non-neutrality         

  9. Network dependencies & standards      

  10. Arbitrage & other unintended consequences   

  11. Mobile broadband is not like fixed       

  12. Organisational challenges in service providers               

Main models for non-neutral mobile broadband   

  Analytical framework      

  Application-specific charging & packages 

     Single-app packages        

     Traffic class (eg video)    

     App group/class packaging           


     User-defined packages: Multi-app packages & “favourite” apps     

  Sponsored data / 1-800 data        

     Reverse-billed advertising           

     Sponsored websites / web-apps  

     1-800 / tollfree apps        

     Enterprise & BYOD           


     Telco-OTT applications   

     Bundled paid apps            

     Bundled free apps            

     Free service & support data          

 Specialised services / QoS “fast lane”        

     Venue-based services & applications         

     Managed enterprise broadband   

     Public safety       

     Mobile IPTV / Video         

     M2M / IOT          

    Web/App Acceleration    
  Impeding & blocking / QoS “slow lane”   
     Unenforced terms & conditions   

     Blocking & throttling       

     Parental Control               

     Deliberate degradation   

     User-defined throttling / prioritisation      

  MVNO / wholesale offers              

     The “Kindle model”        

     Differentiated MVNOs    

  Other / miscellaneous approaches             

     Content modification      

     Customer-centric prioritisation    

     CDNs and paid-peering   

     The insurance-premium model     

Forecasts, conclusions & recommendations

  Market forecasts: How much revenue from non-neutrality?    

  Can two-sided business models work? 

  Recommendations for mobile operators   
  Recommendations for content & application providers      

  Recommendations for regulators               

  Recommendations for network/software vendors              

  Recommendations for investors  

  Recommendations for industry bodies, lobbyists & activists             
The Non-Neutral Mobile Broadband Business Models report can be ordered immediately via the Buy Now links below, or via information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com - payment accepted by credit card, Paypal and PO/invoice/bank transfer.

Purchasers also receive the January 2015 update (35 pages)

For online purchasers, the PDF document will be sent by email, typically within 24hrs of receipt of payment, although sometimes travel schedules may mean a small delay. Please include company name for licence purposes, and VAT number for EU purchasers. 


Mobile Broadband report (PDF) 1-3 users

2014 MBB report (PDF) Corporate Licence

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