A joint statement has been issued by nine telecommunications operators including the member companies of the Freemove Alliance. While it does not seems to be an extension of that platform might replace it with something much larger. The four Freemove alliance partners: Orange, Deutsche Telekom, TIM and TeliaSonera are joined by Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, Millicom, MTS, Rogers and BT.
Unlike Freemove that added partner operators and associations to its footprint it seems that this new alliance is both wider and more open to admitting new member companies. These are unlikely to be the last names on the list with more names expected to be added. It will be interesting to see whether these include some Bridge Alliance members from Asia adding to Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited whose footprint is mainly in India.
The alliance is already able to reach more than 1 billion customers in 80 countries and expansion is likely to be with companies whose footprint does not conflict with existing members. The understanding is that the agreement covers not just the sharing of information about new products but other areas of business including mobile, fixed, B2B and B2C sectors.
More than 30 partner businesses have signed up with the alliance including AirBnB, Celltick, Disconnect, Idoomoo, Magisto, Mojio and Spotify. As Christian von Reventlow, Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Deutsche Telekom explains: “Partnering becomes more and more important. We as operators can provide partners with the best networks and easy distribution to customers. And the partners enable us to provide our customers with the best and most innovative products and services. This is a perfect win-win-situation for all. Therefore I’m very happy that we were able to build this powerful alliance.”
The focus on the alliance for the moment is exchanging best practices on partner propositions, as well as joint efforts to scout potential partners. What is interesting is the combined buying opportunities to help rapidly expand their business. Companies such as Celtick, who deliver mobile marketing solutions to telecommunications operators, will find that best practice can be spread faster to deliver a better engagement and value across a wider net of customers.
Amongst several quotes in the press release, Jesper Hedblom, Head of Commercial, TeliaSonera summarised the alliance well with the following statement: “We’re always looking to expand the digital ecosystem and provide our customers with exciting new services. By teaming up with our great peers we’ll get the possibility to work with partners and access innovations that we otherwise might not have come across. I really look forward to work together and bring even more great services to our customers.”
The first order of the day appears to be sharing go-to-market knowledge with solutions for customers this might be the start of something far larger. It will be interesting to see what other companies join the alliance and there are still several gaps such as China, Japan, Australia and the USA that need to be filled in order to really leverage a global footprint. It seems unlikely that Vodafone or Telefonica will be invited though as it both operators will conflict with existing alliance member in terms of coverage.
What will be interesting is to see whether this new alliance grows to include most of the Freemove Alliance operating partners and whether it actually replaces that agreement. The potential scope of this new alliance seems far wider though peering agreements were not specifically mentioned.