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Mobile Operators Tapping M2M Technology as Traditional Voice Calling Declines

By Jacqueline Lee June 25, 2012

PriceWaterhouse Coopers recently reported that the average number of minutes of use for telecom subscribers had dropped from 720 per month to 638 per month between 2010 and 2011. As voice continues to decline, mobile operators are turning to other sources of revenue to boost their sagging numbers.

Verizon, for instance, will be transforming all of its cell phone plans into data-only plans; other telecoms will certainly follow suit. Still, other telecoms are turning to M2M technology to replace revenue from the decline in voice.

Telecoms lost the battle for application stores to Google and Apple. By investing in M2M, companies are working to prove that they are more than just highways for data. Vodafone established a partnership with Boston Scientific Corp., to develop a health-monitoring system. The system will allow patients to transmit health-related data to their doctors using their mobile devices.

Additionally, Verizon purchased Hughes Telematics for $612 million. Hughes owns technology that enables the transmission of data between car components.

Infonetics Research predicted in 2010 that M2M growth would also be driven by the need to track data sent between devices and to provide a variety of applications with access to that data. Currently, the M2M market is valued at $82 billion globally.

In Switzerland, Swisscom AG has partnered with watch provider Limmex to create a watch designed to help the elderly get quick emergency care when needed. The watch connects to Swisscom’s network and automatically dials up to 10 programmed numbers at the push of a button.

Gerhard Schedler, who heads Swisscom’s M2M business, predicts that Swiss residents will soon own at least 20 connected devices including switches, watches, temperature sensors, meters and even bicycles. Schedler hopes that the Limmex watch will help Swisscom boost sagging earnings. The company reported its first Q1 loss in a decade earlier this year.

In the U.S., Sprint has partnered with Chrysler to provide wireless communications for Chrysler’s UConnect program. Telematics provider, Aeris uses the Sprint network for communications in Hyundai’s Blue Link System.

Tom Nelson, Sprint’s marketing and emerging solutions director, says that Sprint is consolidating the expertise that it has been developing in the M2M market. “Sprint doesn’t just provide connectivity, but is an enabler of the ecosystem,” says Nelson. “Wireless is well-adapted to these purposes.”


Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Then be sure to check out the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. The M2M Evolution Conference is for industry professionals interested in capitalizing on a rapidly growing segment of the telecom industry. The M2M Evolution Conference embraces the any-to-any strategy of the Internet today. Co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media, it showcases the solutions, and examines the data strategies and technological requirements that enterprises and carriers need to capitalize on a market segment that is estimated to grow to $300 Billion in the year ahead. For more information on registering for the M2M Evolution Conference click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Writer

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