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Business survey 2019: too many mobile operators have no means of differentiation

Terry van Staden Analyst, Research

"Too few challengers in the business mobile market have a useable differentiator."

Business mobile markets are saturated and competitive, so operators (and especially challengers) need to ensure that they have a differentiator. Mobile operators that are already dominant only need to defend their market shares, whereas challengers have the more difficult task of claiming them.

Broadly speaking, operators can differentiate either on price or quality. In the mobile market, operators that wish to differentiate on price must give thought to data/minute allowances, while those planning to use quality as a differentiator should consider the quality of both the network and the customer service provided. Of these differentiators, lower prices (or more-generous allowances) are the easiest to introduce, but also to copy. Customer service improvements take more time and investment, but are harder to replicate and are within the control of operators’ business divisions. Network improvements are desirable but are unlikely to be within the control of the business division, because most network decisions are designed around the needs of the consumer division.