Mobile providers join forces

Negative sentiment a thing of the past

Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst launches the Mobility Platform in The Hague next week, an initiative of Nederland-ICT where providers and users of mobile and wireless communication collaborate. The aim of the platform is to spread knowledge about potential mobile solutions. Computable spoke with director Pieter Spohr on the strategy of the platform: “We would like to show what can be achieved with mobile data communication, but not to promote individual operators.”

One of the main objectives of the Mobility Platform is spreading practical knowledge of mobile data applications. According to director Pieter Spohr, former director of the Gigaport project, the knowledge of users and potential users about the possibilities are still very disappointing, despite all the publicity around the mobile market. Moreover, the negative news about the UMTS debacle and the failure of m-commerce has done the image of the mobile industry little good. The UMTS debacle is also the reason that mobile communications providers are now more or less pressed to join forces. It is about time that they start to earn money to compensate for the damage they suffered. The mobile market is driven by providers, while users often adopt a cautious attitude. The future looks promising, according to Spohr and a number of research institutes, and the mobile industry will have an above average growth, compared with the IT industry.

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The current mobile market is mainly composed of solutions based on the GSM network, with tentative trips to GPRS. The platform aims to accelerate this movement, but will stay close to current technology. Spohr: “We would like to show what can and cannot be done with mobile data communication. We are not about promoting individual operators or suppliers. We show examples of what is possible with today's technology, and perhaps with the technology of tomorrow.”

The initiative for the Mobility Platform is taken ​​by Nederland-ICT. It has a wide composition as a result. Besides operators, system suppliers and service providers, the platform has a solid grounding in government. Because of the emphasis that the government currently puts on innovation, this initiative gets a momentum, which explains why minister Brinkhorst of Economic Affairs will launch the platform.

The government is also a major market for mobile operators. For example, toll collection is an example of mobile communication. “There is a gradual development that goes beyond traditional automation. For example, on-board computers and transponder systems allow shippers to know the location of their mobile employees. Mobile communication can help with yield management as well, by connecting employees in the field to business systems.”

The platform is not complete yet. Banks are not part of the platform yet, even though they can play is significant role in the development of mobile payment solutions. Eventually, the platform will have to bring parties together. Spohr: “Many problems are not in the solution, but in the cooperation between organizations. The barriers also often have nothing to do with information technology, but with the lack of examples and best practices.”

Source: Computable (Dutch only)