Christopher Rogers

Wireless Carriers and Their Need For Innovation

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Christopher Rogers is currently a partner at Lumia Capital, an Expansion-stage venture capitalist partnering with leading tech companies in under-invested emerging markets and forward-thinking US companies to accelerate growth. Christopher has 30 years of mobile industry experience and has established himself as a successful entrepreneur, he was one of the guest speakers at Startup Istanbul 2016, where he shared a few details about his journey into entrepreneurship.

Christopher has been in the wireless industry for over 30 years, he and a group of people started Nextel which was a wireless carrier, Nextel was sold for $35 billion and today Christopher invests and adds value to Startups, he is currently a partner at Lumia Capital, a United States based venture capital firm focused on boosting the growth stage of startups, Nextel does not fund early-stage startups but is interested in aiding startups as they grow.

Even as Chris gave his workshop, a number of people were using their phones, he used statistics to show the shrinking percentage of time that people are using mobile devices for what it was originally intended which is voice and messaging. Even the time spent on data enabled phones is more than the traditional phones over the last few years. This information is leading to a large and growing market opportunity.

The big question is “How can telecommunication’s survive in the new mobile and digital world?”, telecommunication firms have 5-year budget cycles, they also have 2-year strategic planning cycles, and they are happy to tell you “come back next year because I may have a budget for you”, whereas in the startup world, startups pivot in 2 weeks, budget in 3 months, analyse their data every day, make decisions from it and react, that is the way the world is moving and innovating.

This means that our buying decision with the carrier will change drastically, we won’t be buying minutes or bits or buckets of data, we are going to be buying a digital experience and that experience can deal with anything on mobile devices including the music and videos, health, and financial content, changing the way services are delivered. This is how carriers are going to have to find a way to approach their customers through innovation.

This means that carriers are going to try to innovate but they need to, this is where startups come into play, carriers will have to build better platforms to deliver good services, carriers will therefore have to make themselves accessible to startups to get partnerships. Such partnerships can lead to content sharing amongst the partners.

Carriers would also need to store data in the cloud and stop storing data without any form of backup or analytics even if they have the largest amount of data. The carriers are starting to take good steps into getting partnerships with innovators, these innovators can be found in the audience and they have to find good ways to work with the big companies to benefit both parties.                                                                                               

─ April 9, 2019