There are several good reasons why mobile service providers will wind up bundling content and over-the-top apps with their access services. For starters, that is among the few ways any service provider in a competitive market can position a service that competes on any meaningful measure except “speed” and “price.”

Another reason is that smartphones are becoming a dominant content consumption platform.

By 2030, U.K. regulator Ofcom suggests, as much as 60 percent of video content might be viewed on a smartphone screen.

 

Also, content is at the heart of mobile app usage, daily. With the exception of voice, content underlies virtually all of the experiences most smartphone users embrace regularly, from social media to web browsing, music and video consumption, reading, playing games or gathering information. 

Also, content is one of the few ways to add value that is unique, or differentiated. We likely will see mobile operators move into mobile streaming video as the first wave of a long process whereby content is bundled by operators in ways that increase differentiation.