- Published: February 2012
Off-Portal Developments and Operator Strategy
- Published: September 2006
- Region: United States
- 33 Pages
There is much debate about the use of the word ‘portal’, or ‘carrier deck’ as it is called in the US. One operator we spoke to described the wireless Internet as a honeycomb where the operator’s role is to act as a trusted guide, which is a nice image. The main limitation of the term portal is that it oversimplifies the nature of an operator controlled and branded service environment. However, we think the term is useful because it is still the best encapsulation for a service strategy that is well established for both the fixed and mobile Internet. We will therefore use the term ‘portal’ in this report.
A portal is a convenient source of packaged content and services for the consumer. The portal environment is controlled and branded by the operator, which bills for the services provided and organises premium content revenue settlement with content partners. Compared to the open Internet, portals offer a small range of more targeted, content-oriented services, such as mobile TV and music downloads.
The content offered on portal often includes big brand names such as MTV and Disney, sometimes on an exclusive basis. Operators typically have direct relationships with key brands, although aggregators will be called on to provide much of the content.
An operator does not need to manage all the services offered on a portal, and many outsource large parts of the service. For example, Critical Path manages much of the content on T-Mobile’s t-zones portal.
There are three main portal strategies open to operators:
- Walled-garden portal. A closed environment where users are restricted to the portal and prevented from browsing off portal, or off net as it sometimes called friendly off portal.
- Operators allow users to browse off portal and download content from approved partners. This is in reality a semi-walled garden open-garden portal.
- The operator provides open search off portal, either based on a generic search engine and/or by partnering with a big brand web search engine such as Yahoo! or Google.
This report explores each of these strategies in more detail. SHOW LESS READ MORE >