- At the Amdocs Analyst Day Amdocs identified potential disruptors to operator business objectives including AppleSIM technology. Amdocs and its operator customers face an ongoing challenge in determining the magnitude of the threat.
- Amdocs needs to form an alliance with Apple to assuage operator uncertainty about software SIM technology and further boost its mobile channel credentials.
The arrival of the AppleSIM has stirred debate on the implications it has on operator business plans. With software SIM capabilities mobile device users could ultimately select service plans on the fly from their device. The first iteration of AppleSIM support, among AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, gives operators a great deal of control over the customer relation. AT&T has made it so that once a user chooses an AT&T plan, they have to buy another SIM if they want to switch to another carrier. Only T-Mobile and Sprint are supporting the ability to switch plans dynamically, but only outside of their own sales channels. Also Verizon is not supporting the AppleSIM and operators are selling iPads in their own sales channels with their own SIMs installed.
Arguably the operators are in wait-and-see mode. At this juncture, they have little to lose. Connected tablet sales for operators outside of their own sales channels are extremely low. This represents mostly upside for operators in the short term. Anything that makes it easy and simple to choose a plan at retail is good. If operators see that, then they are likely to support similar SIMs with other OEMs.
The near-term competitive threat of software SIM technology may prove over stated. However, long term software SIM technology could end up dramatically altering the competitive stakes. As a result Amdocs needs to form an alliance with Apple to ensure its can play a decisive role in operator planning for software SIMs. What are the incentives for Amdocs and Apple to officially ally?:
- <b>Amdocs Incentives for Apple Alliance:</b> Amdocs needs to bolster its mobile device channel credentials. An alliance with Apple would meet escalating operator to better align customer relation management (CRM) practices with the distinct capabilities of each customer’s smart device features. The Amdocs Smart Device Solution is well-suited to drive and improve operator mobile device management of software SIM. An alliance with Apple would render the solution even more attractive for adapting AppleSIM technology.
- <b>Apple Incentives for Amdocs Alliance:</b> Apple needs to work with Amdocs to assure operators can optimize their OSS/BSS tools to improve device management of Apple devices including software SIM-enabled capabilities. The move would emulate its recently formed alliance with IBM to improve enterprise management of iPhone/IPad technologies, including bring-your-own-device environments. Likewise Apple’s decision to support VoLTE and WiFi calling on the iPhone 6 requires greater reliance on operator OSS/BSS platforms to fulfill customer iPhone QoS/QoE expectations. An Amdocs alliance can ease operator OSS/BSS support of new Apple iPhone/iPad devices and features for consumers as well as managed services aimed at enterprises, working as a channel complement to the enterprise-centric IBM alliance.
Understanding the potential disruption that software SIM technology could cause to operator business models is at its earliest stage. Unfolding events such as Apple also integrating AppleSIM onto its future release iPhone products (e.g., VoLTE-enabled iPhones) will yield the definitive data points and use cases required for operators to adapt to the long-term competitive implications. Whether other device suppliers will follow suit with their own software SIM implementations remains up in the air. Likewise factors such as regulatory restrictions and fragmented operator support of service plans catering to software SIM-enabled service plan selectivity can hamper customer/user adoption of the capabilities. Regardless Amdocs needs a formal alliance with Apple to meaningfully influence operator decision making on software SIM adaption during its nascent stage.