Tata's MOVE is on the Move!

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By Dan Shey | 2Q 2018 | IN-5097

Tata has entered the IoT market in a big way through the launch of MOVE, a suite of services to enable worldwide thing connectivity regardless of region. Its services are coming to market at the right time with the launch of LPWA networks, availability of eSIM and eventually iUICC, and greater awareness of the IoT solution value particularly among device OEMs. The availability of MOVE is important to the broader IoT market because it is coming at a time when various suppliers are repositioning themselves for opportunities serving connected things, processes, workforce, and consumers. This insight reviews MOVE and their market successes and the competitive implications.

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Introduction

NEWS


Tata has entered the IoT market in a big way through the launch of MOVE, a suite of services to enable worldwide thing connectivity regardless of region.  Its services are coming to market at the right time with the launch of LPWA networks, availability of eSIM and eventually iUICC, and greater awareness of the IoT solution value particularly among device OEMs.  The availability of MOVE is important to the broader IoT market because it is coming at a time when various suppliers are repositioning themselves for opportunities serving connected things, processes, workforce, and consumers.  This insight reviews MOVE and their market successes and the competitive implications.

Blending the Digital Domain with the Physical Domain

IMPACT


MOVE is offered as an IoT connectivity play (IoT Connect) and as a second SIM offering (SIM Connect) for smartphones and tablets.  SIM Connect enables enterprises with global roaming where the primary operator does not have a roaming agreement or which roaming is more expensive.  MOVE’s key value proposition is to connect anything anywhere.  They are leveraging an already extensive fiber network and adding a host of GGSNs to enable cellular connections anywhere in the world.  What is impressive is its cellular connectivity offerings are both broad, with over 200 countries connected, but also deep with many markets having network connectivity with at least two operators.  MOVE claims over 600 mobile network operator partnerships.

The MOVE offering is also finding adoption among a very broad set of segments.  They fall into three categories.  The first is for screened device data connections primarily targeting the mobile worker.  A common example for these services is for aircraft flight books which are on tablets of which Tata has recently won a contract with a major Middle Eastern carrier.  Tata also provides global connectivity for SkyRoam, a mobile hotspot connectivity provider.  SkyRoam has a large customer base from China, which at any given moment can have over 1.5 million workers roaming outside of China.

The second segment finding value in Tata’s MOVE are customers connecting IoT devices.  Tata has customers for children’s watches, tracking solution providers, shared bikes and waste management.  ABI Research believes that growing coverage of LPWA networks will help accelerate Tata MOVE’s growth not only across consumer segments but also for B2B OEM markets such as appliances, smart cities applications, and various industrial products.

The third segment gaining traction for MOVE is in mobile engagement offers.  Mobile engagement can include SMS offer alerts and downloadable coupons based on customer location and preferences, but it can also be chat apps.  Brick and mortar and online retail seeking global omnichannel customer access is a significant adopter of MOVE services.  Social media websites are also expanding their customer footprint access enabled by MOVE.

Maturing Customer Demands Driving New Competitive Offerings

RECOMMENDATIONS


Tata’s MOVE is coming at a time when competitive activity is ramping up for worldwide connectivity services.  The first are the telco infrastructure vendors who are seeking to reposition themselves based on a global footprint of cellular networks.  Nokia at MWC launched WING which is a similar offering as MOVE, but has a more distinct focus on connectivity service providers.  Nokia also has its IMPACT platform complemented by its security portfolio with automotive a major target segment. 

Ericsson has always had a top rated cellular connectivity management platform and is now moving more aggressively into vertical offerings such as smart buildings and cities.  Different to MOVE, Huawei and ZTE have been active in the device-to-cloud platform space, Huawei offering OceanConnect and ZTE offering ThingCloud.

The mobile operators have not been silent either.  Soon after Mobile World Congress, Telefonica announced a partnership with China Unicom.  AT&T, Vodafone, and Orange have all been active in building their respective roaming partnership agreements to stay relevant with enterprises.  All of this activity highlights how global coverage and network access is critical for many companies all trying to extend their products and services worldwide.  And the competitive stakes are raised for operators by the availability of Tata’s other service in the MOVE portfolio: Mobile Network Enablement services allowing enterprises to become their own MVNO. 

For any company that is seeking to offer connected services, as an MVNO they can create tailored offerings leveraging connectivity features and pricing that best fits the customer need. Working with Tata, enterprises can buy global network access in huge bundles of voice and data, gaining the best rates based on volume.  Depending on the arrangement with Tata, Tata can also bill clients.

For OEMs seeking flexibility and global network reliability, Tata’s offer is very compelling: multiple operator network depth in multiple countries at very competitive rates.  It will be hard for mobile operators to offer something similar through their own efforts.  And this raises the bigger question for operators.  If customers prefer a network offering that has better network access, can they compete….even in their own network footprint?  5G will definitely help operators capture more margin using network slicing and SLAs.  While operators could limit companies like Tata from offering 5G preferred services on their network this decision may not work in the operator’s favor if ultimately it depresses the market.

Moving forward, Tata will need to consider its options for private network offerings, and higher data capacity application segments.  In the view of ABI Research, private networks will grow through 4G, 5G, and proprietary LPWA network offerings.  Higher data capacity application segments such as automotive need assessment as roaming relationships are more difficult to obtain when the application throughput gets into the higher GBs.  Latency is another area where MOVE will need some messaging since this area is one that Nokia’s WING is promoting.  Finally, MOVE may also want to consider potential opportunities with connectivity management and device management (FOTA, certificate management, etc) services likely through partner offerings.  These two services could add 20% to 30% on top of connectivity revenues.

Beyond the competitive implications for global OEMs and mobile operators, Tata’s offering for IoT needs to be considered as an important enabler and optimizer particularly as a connected product scales and for connected products that will be used in worldwide locations.   However, the longer term competitive implication for consideration from this assessment is how will wide area connectivity be acquired for IoT solutions in the future?  Supplier diversity and offer complexity are still issues slowing IoT adoption.  And ultimately what customers care about is the ROI of the IoT solution and its impact on business processes.  Do customers really care about who is the provider of cellular network access?  Tata’s MOVE is making it easier to enable IoT solutions and could be the harbinger of the winning business model for IoT solution connectivity enablement. 

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