Operators should look favourably on the latest product launches from Apple, at least in the short-term, industry analysts have said.
The US manufacturer unveiled its first smart watch and an m-payments service alongside two new versions of its iPhone.
Ovum’s Paul Lambert said the announcements are “great news” for network operators.
He explained: “Viewed together, the devices represent a step-change in how mobile consumers will be connected to the internet.
“Apple’s new devices offer operators a great opportunity to increase data usage and data revenues. Each of the new devices will lead to more cellular data use, which is also great news for operators – especially if they can price data services in ways that capture consumers’ imaginations.”
However, he warned that operators will need to continue to invest in their networks to ensure they offer “robust internet access” that can cope with the increase in mobile data traffic the new devices will bring about.
On the m-payments front, many operators will be wondering if Apple’s entry will sound the death knell for their own offerings.
But Analysys Mason’s John Abraham assuages any immediate fears. He commented: “Apple Pay will not have any direct impact on CSP revenue at present. The greater impact will be the loss of potential customer relationship opportunities by letting Apple become the gatekeeper for all mobile commerce transactions.
“This will be limited at first as Apple Pay is limited to new iPhones, but the impact will expand in scope and coverage over the next few years.
CCS Insight’s Geoff Blaber said the launch of Apple Pay using NFC “is of huge significance” but its success will depend on how quickly it can roll out beyond its initial US launch.
He added: “This will be a complex task due to the fragmented nature of markets in regions like Europe and is likely to take some considerable time and investment.”
But Analysys Mason’s Enrique Velasco-Castillo does not expect Apple to fail ultimately. He said: “Apple has an advantage in the race for mobile commerce and payments dominance thanks to a combination of security features in the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, detailed customer data, key partnerships with card networks and merchants, and sheer good timing.”
Ovum’s Eden Zoller added: “Apple will prove effective at marketing mobile payments to consumers, not as a technology but as something that will make paying for goods and services with your phone fast, easy and even fun.”
Analysts also expects Apple to lead in the smart watch space. CCS Insight’s Blaber commented: "Apple has succeeded where others have failed in creating a device that stands up to comparison to highly personal pieces of jewellery.
“More details are needed to ascertain the degree to which the device will be considered a “must have” when it launches in early 2015, but there can be little doubt Apple will quickly sell millions of devices. For Apple’s competitors this launch will force them to rethink many aspects of their product plans."
Analysys Mason’s Velasco-Castillo added: “Apple’s new wearable will significantly slow down sales of competing devices in the final quarter of 2014.”
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