The dossier for our Prediction #3 – Shoemaker stick to your last – is building up
One of the world’s largest operators Vodafone is closing down Wayfinder, its provider of navigation- and location-based services. After players such as Google and Nokia started offering maps and other navigation support for free, “We could not charge for something that others give away for free” says a Vodafone spokesperson. Vodafone’s move, as well as Google’s and Nokia’s, may confirm the overall relatively low standalone value of positioning itself. The last decade has proven that location-based service revenues are elusive. Only now are we witnessing some success of positioning as a supporting component to e.g. social networks, but the final numbers are not in yet.
More importantly, Vodafone gives another example of how challenging it is for operators to run services in competition with other players, higher up in the value chain, such as handset and internet players who can scale their services globally. Not only is the footprint needed very large, operators who are searching for new revenue sources increasingly need to consider indirect, advertising-based income. That business logic is different from most operators’ main business and requires both new competences and changed priorities.