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Carrier vs. IT: Cowboys & Aliens?

12:00 PM -- When it comes to mobile services, operators and enterprises are worlds apart in a couple of key areas. Surveys of mobile operators and enterprise IT execs conducted by Heavy Reading and InformationWeek for next week’s 4G World Expo and Conference in Chicago brought to light some dramatic perception differences between the two groups on such core issues as data caps and quality of mobile services.

On data caps, 70 percent of those surveyed have either already implemented data caps or are planning to in the next 12 months, and half said they were doing so to protect margins. IT folks had a different view; 57 percent had a negative view of data caps, and half said mobile data prices were too high.

On whether carrier services meet business customers’ needs, 75 percent of operator respondents said their enterprise mobile services were OK or better (with 34 percent saying their business services were “great”). Not so, according the InformationWeek survey, as only 10 percent of IT execs said their service provider met their needs very well, while 88 percent said that improvements are needed.

How wide apart are the two worlds? “It’s clear from the two surveys that operators are focused on their 4G ROI and less concerned about meet the needs of business customers,” says Berge Ayvazian, Heavy Reading senior 4G consultant and program chairman of 4G World. “Operators are increasingly looking at cloud services to get even with OTT competitors, but don’t realize that the enterprise is skeptical of their ability to deliver. Operators are more concerned with the consumer experience than the enterprise customer requirements.”

Additional results of the surveys, which were conducted in October with results from 60 mobile operators and 230 business technology professionals, will be discussed at several sessions at 4G World, Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Chicago. InformationWeek VP of Editorial Erik Lundquist will discuss it with his panel on Thursday titled “IT Executive Forum, Enterprise Mobility and Security," with Brett Goldstein, CIO for the city of Chicago, and Francis Rabuck, former CTO of Towers Perrin. Ayvazian will also be presenting the results during his keynote presentations and other conference sessions at the show.

Another key difference: Android vs. Apple. Two-thirds of the operator respondents said Google Android will be the fastest-growing smartphone OS over the next 12 months; only 22 percent said Apple iOS would be fastest growing. Yet enterprise execs said that Apple was their No. 1 smartphone choice.

As for smartphones, there was one thing that both carriers and IT agreed on: a tepid response to the new Windows 8 mobile operating system, with 77 percent of carriers saying it would have little or no impact on the mobile OS market, and 89 percent of IT execs saying they were either unsure or would not support it.

— Joe Braue, Group Director and SVP, Light Reading

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