Bud: “Anyone who says they know what’s going to happen isn’t telling the truth”

I’m at a Westminster eForum seminar on smartphones, tablets and apps, where mBlox chief strategy officer Andrew Bud has just given a great snapshot of where the mobile industry currently is.

He told delegates: “I’ve been in the mobile industry for 25 years, and in all of that time, it’s always been fairly clear to the protagonists what was going to happen next. But now, for the first time, there is incredible uncertainty. The various disruptions caused by enhanced infrastructure, handsets becoming more powerful, touchscreen devices, all of these have disrupted the traditional ecosystem to the point that anyone who says they know what’s going to happen isn’t telling the truth.”

He went on say that it could be argued that the old internet ecosystem is obsolete, and that we will see an evolution of the way that digital content is consumed, towards the mobile ecosystem, with mobile operators playing a similar role to ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Here, he got into the net neutrality debate, saying:  “There is a fundamental role in the provision of paid-for enablers, services to content and service providers that only they (the operators) can provide, and they will get paid for it.”

This prompted a question from O2 CEO Ronan Dunne as to how operators are supposed to make money in this view of the world. To which Bud replied: “(Operators) should and must charge the providers of content and services for the use of their network to deliver their services.” At which point he couldn’t resist a plug for mBlox’s Sender Pays Data solution, in which the cost of the data download for mobile services, such as bus company Arriva’s mobile ticketing service, for example, is picked up by the service provider, rather than the consumer.