When it comes to the innovation, few understand its importance better than telcos. While their revenue streams have been under constant attack, most have been busily preparing for, and therefore helping to shape, the future. None more so than O2.
Their latest move is an interesting new app, which signals towards a far more device agnostic future for networks. We have already seen Nokia handsets that host two SIM/chip cards, allowing users to benefit from alternative telco rates simultaneously. Indeed recently, China mobile, the world’s largest network, acknowledged that the biggest threats they face come from tech firms. But O2′s new app TU Go promises to allow users to keep and use their mobile number on any Android or iOS device they own, to make calls or send texts, including devices like internet-enabled iPods. It’s a big push back which will be feared by the likes of WhatsApp and Skype, and is a glimpse of a future where networks ‘exist’ as apps.
O2 will draw their ‘charge’ by taking minutes and texts from a contract subscriber’s monthly allowance – but this does mean no pre-charging à la Skype. It’s more evidence that O2 intend to lead the way in their industry.