So who exactly is the service provider – the one providing the service , the one providing the handset, or maybe the one providing the operating system?
While it is a question I already asked last month, trying to answer it in a few posts already; I want to revisit it with a bit more beef this time.
The service provider
Of course it’s the service provider – he’s the one who gave you the SIM. The one you pay your monthly bill to. The one who has an affordable family package – for you, your spouse and your kids. You do your voice calls through him, your SMS and all that 3G data connectivity to use to browse the web or activate your favorite apps.
The handset vendor
It can’t be the service provider. It’s the handset vendor – just check what these vendors are up to these days. He’s the one with the real cool and important services: the backup and restore, location services, aggregation of your social media content or simply any consumption of multimedia.
As we’re now more tied to our handset than to our service provider. Of course – this is our new service provider.
The operating system vendor
It is the operating system vendor. Him and no other. He offers some special cloud services already – you are using them daily, even if you, as an end customer, don’t know it. This direct tie to the OS vendor is only going to grow – ask Android – their brand is strong and well known by consumers already.
Bonus: The app developer
It definitely can’t be any of the above – they are all focused on an experience of a single device. It’s the app developers – they are the ones bringing us the new web: connecting us to the myriad of real services we are now using through our browsers. Be it social networking, messaging, streaming, pictures, storage or note taking – it’s all in the apps and they are our true service providers.
And at times, they even offer services that compete directly with the base offering of the traditional service providers.
Bottom Line: It’s all of them
There’s no one service provider any longer. It’s all a mixture of services that we’re using by multiple providers of different kinds. And the future will make this mix even more complex.
Who will win this war in pursuit of our mind share and pockets? That’s yet to be seen.