Pipe, Platform, Application

Some great ideas for operators to better utilize (and monetize) their assets: expose users’ location data, expose their social graph, building micro-payment systems that make sense, become verified ID providers. Just reading the article will set your head abuzz.

These are solid, solid ideas. But they require operators to think of themselves as platforms, making money off access to APIs. And that is just not in their DNA. Rather, in their rush to corner every buck there is to be made in the mobile space, they have tried to integrate vertically – running businesses from cell phone towers to handset applications, doing only a few things well.

They’ve attempted to jump from being a pipe to building applications bypassing the development of platforms in between – for identity, social, location,┬ápayments – to build good applications, not one-offs.

Too bad. That’s stunting the development of an entire, first-of-its-kind-in-the-world mobile ecosystem in India.