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Why Mobile Operators Are Counting On Small And Medium Sized Businesses

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 2/25/2013

Mobile operators are targeting the profitable small and medium sized business market as the key to growth and future revenues.

When most people think about mobile, they think about the consumer mobile marketplace--a place where hip teens dance on subways while listening to tunes on the latest and greatest mobile gadgets.

SMB Mobile Market Opportunity

But mobile technology has also impacted businesses across a range of market sectors. In retail, mobile is reshaping the playing field and creating opportunities for anytime, anywhere connections with consumers; in B2B, mobile is enabling remote workers and customers to have instant access to a broad range of applications and data.

Now Sigma Systems is reporting that mobile's future might not be so heavily weighted toward the consumer market, but toward small and medium sized companies that are leveraging mobile for communication, applications and other purposes.

While voice and messaging revenues are declining, the over-the-top (OTT) application and services market is expanding rapidly and is expected to be worth $166.5 billion by 2016. SMBs are an attractive market for mobile operators because More and more small companies are learning about sofftware-as-a-service (SaaS) and the advantages of web-based business solutions.

These applications enable small and medium sized businesses to have access to online backup, CRM, office productivity and unified communication software for mobile and flexible workforces.

"With billions of dollars of revenue at stake it is clear that operators must change their approach to OTT players," said Rick Mallon, vice president Marketing & Product Management at Sigma Systems. "While there is great opportunity in the SMB market, operators have to adjust their relationship with them to exploit the tidal wave of new, independent apps, services and content providers that SMBs are demanding."

Another area of growth in the SMB mobile market is in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Mobile operators have the ability to provided added value for SMBs by offering applications and services like in-building security, transport and logistics, and goods tracking in a market that is expected to be worth more than $65 billion by 2015.

To adequately meet the needs of SMBs and capture their share of this growing market sectors, mobile operators will likely begin to shift their approach and become more nimble in order to compete with leading OTT providers.

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