Are There Still Differentiators in Managed Mobility?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Current Analysis was recently briefed by seven mobile operators on their latest managed mobility services.
  •  While their portfolios have many elements in common, there remain a few key differentiators.

Every time Current Analysis completes its updates on the global managed mobility services market, there are a number of service elements or sound bites with which to position portfolios that sound increasingly similar. For example, all operators now have several platform options for mobile device management, and most are also leveraging the mobile application management and enterprise app store functionality (and increasingly the app-wrapping or other form of containerization) of their platform partners. Most operators also still offer TEM; a few have MEAP platforms offered as a service while others offer sets of pre-built mobile apps; yet others will do end-to-end mobile application development. Mobile security also has some variation, as some operators view their MDM services as synonymous with their mobile security offerings while others offer a continuum of add-on security capabilities and software partner add-ons or do a lot of custom mobile security engagements. As for positioning, there remains a common view of the near future where, at least as an option, all managed mobility elements are multi-carrier, are offered from the operator’s cloud, and have been integrated into the same service, with a common UI and with all elements viewable and manageable from the same portal; there is also sharing of all data from each service in a shared database to be able to do more analytics and even real-time analysis of usage. Many operators have done some of this kind of integration or plan to do so.

It is instructive to look at the outliers. In TEM, for example, Verizon no longer offers its own service while BT not only views TEM as a differentiator, but also stresses its role in providing unbiased sourcing and contract negotiation and multi-carrier optimization. Most other operators are between these two extremes with a platform for multi-carrier TEM (that feeds into a logistics system for ordering plans and devices) that is based on one of a handful of TEM software vendor offerings. Verizon also is unusual in MDM, because it offers its own Mobile Workforce Manager solution and its own Private Application Store for Business while most other operators are sticking with variants of SAP, MobileIron, and AirWatch. MEAP has become an interesting area to watch, as many operators are shying away from offering either a MEAP service or their own mobile application development capabilities. An exception to this is Deutsche Telekom, which can bring in T-Systems for app development. DT, Verizon, AT&T, and Telefonica are also offering MEAP through a variety of MEAP vendor relationships. On the other hand, Vodafone, Orange, and BT are much less likely to position themselves as enabling development of or actually developing custom mobile apps. Dual persona has also become a differentiator as, aside from Vodafone and AT&T, most operators have decided to go with other forms of containerization rather than stick with plans to offer Enterproid or VMware-style dual persona. AT&T has gone the farthest with dual persona, adding data buckets and split billing in version 3 of Toggle. BT and Orange are more involved with WLAN consulting and management than other operators, and BT includes WLANs as a core network technology for its BYOD service.

Aside from all of these variants, mobile operators also differ in their partnering strategies, their regional or global footprints, and their view of their logical role in enterprise mobility. Vive la difference!

About Kitty Weldon
As Principal Analyst for Enterprise Mobility at Current Analysis, Kathryn is responsible for analyzing events, companies, products and technologies within the wireless and converged wireline/wireless enterprise services and solutions space.

One Response to Are There Still Differentiators in Managed Mobility?

  1. Kitty, great coverage! It’s interesting to gain a better understanding of what the operators are doing in the managed mobility space. I agree that MDM/MAM offerings are being commoditized as differentiation fades. However, I do believe the category of managed mobility services extends beyond what the EMM providers are offering.

    You mention, “there remains a common view of the near future where, at least as an option, all managed mobility elements are multi-carrier, are offered from the operator’s cloud, and have been integrated into the same service, with a common UI and with all elements viewable and manageable from the same portal.” What are your thoughts on these services being provided by carrier agnostic service providers. Like those referenced in Gartner’s, Managed Mobility Services Magic Quadrant?

What do you think?

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