Why value is slipping away from the operators: "Almost all of the value in my user experience was associated with third party brands and the handset manufacturer."

I disagree with Marek's conclusions here - that operators are becoming irrelevant - but I think that he's right when he talks about the value of his user experience. Part of the problem is that operators are like a utility: you only notice them when they don't work, or when they behave abnormally. Billing, providing a network, subsidising a handset - all these things can and do fade into the background during everyday use.

This presents operators with a problem, of course,

It's also worth noting that Marek (like me) is an absolutely atypical user. Our usage requirements (for many applications and data-driven services) are unusual; we might be closer to the sort of user that operators want to be servicing in 10 years time, but right now revenues from a typical operator here in the UK are 70% voice, 26% SMS and 4% all the other stuff (MMS, data, WAP, content, email, etc.) So I think he's relying on anecdotal evidence when he says that "numerous people use services such as Google Mail and Flickr"; even if large numbers of power users do use these services, they're a drop in the ocean compared to the wider audience.

I love Marek's ideas around self-service though, and it's somewhere that the operators are well behind: why can't I get my phone bill or manage my account through my handset itself?

He reminds me here of a nice little epithet Robert came out with last time I saw him: that "if you have to have a meeting to come to a commercial arrangement with someone, you're not working on Internet Time".