Commerce and connectivity: A match made in heaven?

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Will many other digital commerce and content companies follow Reliance and Rakuten into the consumer connectivity market?


Format: PDF filePages: 44 pagesCharts: 15Author: STL Partners Research TeamPublication Date: February 2021

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Mixing connectivity and commerce
    • Why Rakuten became a mobile network operator
    • Will Rakuten succeed in connectivity?
    • Why hasn’t Rakuten Mobile broken through?
    • Borrowing from the Amazon playbook
    • How will the hyperscalers react?
  • New technologies, new opportunities
    • Capacity expansion
    • Unlicensed and shared spectrum
    • Cloud-native networks and Open RAN attract new suppliers
    • Reprogrammable SIM cards
  • Google: Knee deep in connectivity waters
    • Google Fiber and Fi maintain a holding pattern
    • Google ramps up and ramps down public Wi-Fi
    • Google moves closer to (some) telcos
    • Google Cloud targets telcos
    • Big commitment to submarine/long distance infrastructure
    • Key takeaways: Vertical optimisation not integration
  • Amazon: A toe in the water
    • Amazon Sidewalk
    • Amazon and CBRS
    • Amazon’s long distance infrastructure
    • Takeaways: Control over connectivity has its attractions
  • Conclusions and implications for telcos in digital commerce/content
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Rakuten pursues economies of scope across e-commerce and fintech
  • Figure 2: Rakuten claims to have high quality data on 100 million customers
  • Figure 3: Rakuten has put mobile connectivity at the centre of its consumer ecosystem
  • Figure 4: Rakuten’s foray into mobile connectivity is proving expensive
  • Figure 5: International Internet Bandwidth Growth by Region, 2015-2019
  • Figure 6: The fibre-optics industry is seeing a slowdown in demand
  • Figure 7: The U.S. has made available a big tranche of new unlicensed spectrum
  • Figure 8: Alphabet has sharply scaled back its investments in fibre
  • Figure 9: Google Cloud’s expanding infrastructure circumvents the globe
  • Figure 10: Amazon Sidewalk is designed to pick up where Wi-Fi leaves off
  • Figure 11: Amazon’s network infrastructure spans the globe
  • Figure 12: AWS increasingly controls the connectivity used by its customers
  • Figure 13: AWS has created its networks to bypass the Internet
  • Figure 14: AWS now operates edge data centres across much of the world
  • Figure 15: Telcos in East Asia have been at the forefront of the push into commerce

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 5G, Amazon, apple, business models, cloud-native, communications platform, content, Convergence, E-Commerce, EcoSystem, google, Hyperscalers, Machine Learning, Rakuten, Reliance, spectrum, Wi-Fi