NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone have been assessed by ABI Research as occupying the "sweet spot" of "Market Innovation and Market Implementation," in the latest ABI Research Mobile Operator Performance Matrix, with high ratings on a range of indicators: CAPEX spend per user; non-voice revenue contribution; number and utility of applications and service deployments; EBITDA; share of the global subscriber market; and EBITDA margin.
"Both of these companies have demonstrated remarkable cycles of product and service innovation that continue to underpin their market reach or implementation," said Jake Saunders, Asia-Pacific Research Director. "Not only are these two companies gearing up to exploit consumer market applications such as mobile TV, music downloads and navigational services, but also m-payment (e.g., m-Pesa for Vodafone and FeliCa for NTT DoCoMo) and enterprise applications (e.g., Vodafone's and NTT DoCoMo's RIM BlackBerry enterprises email server service and NTT DoCoMo's "DOKODESUKA bus" public bus tracking solution)."
Twenty global mobile operators were assessed. While the overall versatility of some of the other operators surveyed across the x-y axis of Innovation and Implementation was not as comprehensive as that of Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo, some operators are showing long term promise. China Mobile and Hutchison 3 are two such candidates, but for opposing reasons:
* Hutchison 3 achieved the highest score for Innovation of all the operators surveyed, but its comparative financial and market reach limitations lowered its Implementation Index rating.
* China Mobile has exactly the opposite challenge. The company scored the highest on the Implementation Index. Naturally the sheer number of China Mobile subscribers does contribute in part to the high rating, but it also reflected the level of profitability within the company as well as operational efficiency.
Many of the remaining mobile operators surveyed are striving to remain competitive and gain market leverage by enhancing their capacity for innovation. It will remain to be seen in future editions of the ABI Research Operator Matrix whether any of them can topple Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo from their prime positions.