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Gartner Symposium: Prepare for mobile shake out

John Riley
Corporate users should prepare now for a massive consolidation of mobile phone operators, according to Gartner analyst Nick Jones, speaking at the organisation's annual European symposium in Cannes today.

Jones said that meant moving away from long-term contracts, building in escape clauses to short-term contracts and quickly developing contingency plans as many mobile operators will either go bankrupt or merge in the near future.

"We will see just three mobile operators in each European country and of all operators across Europe, only three will be pan-European" he said.

Users should also anticipate a range of problems with wireless networks, according to Jones, who predicted that by 2007 organisations could expect to have at least five different wireless networks installed.

"Your IS infrastructure must build on the assumption you cannot predict what devices your staff will be using - you need dynamic middleware which is independent of specific devices," he warned.

Jones said there was much work to do to build a robust Europe-wide mobile business infrastructure.

There was slow progress on the financial infrastructure, including the development of micropayments and multichannel billing, as well as on content and services.

Jones maintained that the £1 cost per megabyte of GPRS data is far too expensive, because the roll out of the technical infrastructure was not yet good enough. "3G has become 3D - debt, delays, and doubt," he said.

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