10 jobs for Enhanced Mobile Broadband

5G is expected to take Mobile Broadband to the next level – a journey you might think of as enhancing speed and performance. But there are reasons to believe there are other benefits that will make a bigger difference. With 5G, unmet user needs will come into play more than previous mobile broadband iterations. This post focuses on the needs driving enhancements to one of the world’s most important services.

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Evolve the user experience

The #1 job for enhanced mobile broadband is to evolve the user experience. Future users will be of three types; consumers, employees and self-employed/temporary workers. An enhanced user experience for both employees and temporary workers is growing in importance. There is a trend toward increased integration between private and professional life, and a need to reduce hassle related to cross-device platform usage. User-experience needs will be the dominating force shaping the direction of enhanced Mobile Broadband in the coming decade.

The current mobile broadband focus is on smartphones and consumers. Enhanced mobile broadband has been adopted, but not optimized for our professional realities.

Offer tailored business models

The #2 job to be done for Enhanced Mobile Broadband is to offer tailored business models. The need comes from the potential to diversify business models both upwards and downwards. Increasing model variety, tied to specific user groups’ needs with increased application and connectivity bundling where over the top is not enough.

The current Mobile Broadband functions rely on a 20-year old business model. It offers a flat fee for a fat pipe of mobile internet connectivity, complemented with free WiFi access in exchange for personal data. This is expected to remain the dominant model, complemented with tailored innovations.

Offer access-independent service characteristics

The #3 job to be done is to offer access-independent service characteristics, bridging the current service differences between mobile and WiFi access. The two existing services have evolved with different service sets, business models, and authentication principles. But there is potential for seamless service delivery. There is likely to be a reduction to service sets offered just on one platform and an increase in the amount of new capabilities supported on both platforms. This will require a reduction in the differences for service activation authentication and business model principles.

The current Mobile Broadband functions have developed along two routes, initially competing for user attention, with differentiation around broadband basics.

Support next-generation media innovations

The #4 job to be done is to support new media innovations. Where ultra-high definition video, virtual reality, augmented reality and holographs represent new opportunities. This will either be for consumption on a screen or through projection on surrounding surfaces leading to increased integration between media types. To support this there will be a need to increase the availability of streaming media services and live video distribution.

The current Mobile Broadband job is centered on supporting high definition video and audio, graphics and text – an important foundation, though a new leap can be expected.

Provide support for all device types

The #5 job to be done is to provide support for all device types, where a growing proportion of devices are smart, connected devices. This increases the amount of device types connected directly, and indirectly, to the network. There is need to increase support for devices communicating without human interaction

The current Mobile Broadband is centered around SIM card enabled devices, all smartphones, and a subset of tablets.

Support new primary devices

The #6 job to be done is to support new primary communication devices. The smart phone is a 10-year old innovation, still going strong but with potential to be overtaken. We can expect devices with reduced dependency on eye and hand attention for operation, and reduced integration in cases where part of the device is remote from the user.

The current Mobile Broadband job is centered around the smartphone, or devices relying on the Smartphone for parts of the use case. The smartphone will remain central, but not the sole response to all future communication needs.

Closing the digital divide

The #7 job is about closing the digital divide – connecting the unconnected population. The dependency on mobile broadband for basic societal functions is growing. And if all society functions become partly digital we need to connect the whole population by increase the offerings tailored for each demographic segment of the market. We will need to increase the offerings tailored to users with a low level of digital literacy, and the amount of micro-segmented services, offered at a fraction of the cost compared to current base packages.

The current role for Mobile Broadband meets the needs of the majority of the population, but the digital divide is still real.

Add context to define optimal capabilities

The #8 job is about tailoring the capabilities of a device to a specific context, increasing the distinction between professional and private usage. By increasing the tie to a geographical location for example, mobile broadband can be restricted in inappropriate contexts, e.g. TXT/SMS while driving.

The current Mobile Broadband role is based on context independent use –  a smartphone has the same functionality, irrespective of context.

Integration with business processes

The #9 job is to integrate Mobile Broadband into digital business processes to increase customer satisfaction of digital and analog/digital products and services. This also involves increasing the amount of data captured to guide purchase decisions, and increasing the amount of automatic purchases tied to recurring usage thresholds. There is also the possibility to increase the automation of workflows and reduce the cost of post-purchase maintenance and support flows.

Expand into new eco-systems

The final job to be done is to enable expansion into new eco-systems outside of mobile telecom. We can increase the amount of industries leveraging mobile broadband for their digital agenda, as well as support for specific eco-system needs.

The current mobile broadband job is defined by the mobile telecom eco-system and leveraged by adjacent industries.

Outlook for the future

My predictions for how Enhanced Mobile broadband will evolve is:

  • The driving applications will move from consumer only, towards professional and consumer focus.
  • Most consumer can’t tell the peak speed on their phone today, and speed will remain good enough but not differentiating for Mobile Broadband.
  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband will go beyond smartphones for jobs to be done where the smartphone is central today.
  • The value proposition to end-users will be built up from any small things, rather than a killer value proposition like Internet access to a smartphone for all.

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