If Maslow’s hierarchy of needs were to be written today, in all probability it would include the need for internet connectivity, possibly close to the baseline of the pyramid. That’s how important it is to every human being in the current scenario. Mobile network operator being the incumbent service providers have been the enablers of this connectivity.

Despite technological advancement, the fact that Americans spent 70 billion hours behind the wheel every year seems to have been overlooked until very recently. ‘The internet car’ & the focus on driver & passenger data economy is finally set to revolutionize the future of mobility while having a far-reaching impact on Mobile Network operators & their revenue models.

Connected Car Market Research Report (2020): Globally connected car market was valued at $72,499.2 million in 2019, and it is projected to advance with a CAGR of 24.1% during the forecast period (2020–2025). The growing demand for enhanced driving experience and the introduction of the internet of things (IoT) in the automotive industry, along with the increasing concerns for safety and security, are the key growth factors driving the market.


Mobile network operators are known to continually add service products in their portfolio, and they should keep at it, just as before! The IoT space is also potential service avenue for MNOs, most of its value could be unlocked by creating complex connectivity solutions that specific industries might need; one in focus here: Automotive.

This sector is at the cusp of a transformation, generating a strong demand for omnipresent, low latency, high bandwidth network. With the advent to 5G, things are getting more interesting. As of today, there are two types of connectivity being offered to the consumers.

  • The ‘built-in’ connected vehicle features (Launched & Marketed by OEMs)
    This ‘factory-fit’ approach seems to be the most preferred approach across mature OEMs. In partnership with Mobile Network Operators, Internal connectivity capabilities are first established to build a customized platform that can cater to both short term and long term connected car solution requirements. ‘BMW-Connected Drive’, ‘Ask Honda’, are the much-loved commercial face of this offering that most of new age consumers like you might be able to relate to!
  • The ‘brought-in’ connectivity capability (Launched & Marketed by MNOs)
    These are “off-the-shelf” plug-and-play connectivity devices that can be retro-fitted into any car. Typically, these solutions provide GPS functionalities, along with the ability to collect data from the Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) for basic car paraments & health checks. The use cases are enabled through an external smartphone app.


A mature automotive OEM operates in over 120+ countries and needs to establish local partnerships with leading mobile network operators across those countries to launch Connected Car services due to regulatory, privacy & security norms. While conceptually, this may seem like the right thing to do, executing a seamless output in this regard requires integration capability between the MNOs as well as the OEM at the provisioning as well as the operational layer. Executing such a large-scale roll-out consistently within a given budget while supporting a plethora of services; in a geography & network agnostic manner, needs a new paradigm. This shift comes in the face of a ‘Platform Bridge’ like Airlinq that suits the MNO’s expansion plans and the OEM’s connectivity needs.

In layman’s terms, Airlinq is continually building connectivity blocks on its platform by onboarding leading MNOs across geographies. The advanced cloud-based connectivity on offer attracts global automotive OEMs to utilize the network flexibility to fit various kinds of performance and availability prerequisites with rapid single point API integration.


Up until very recently, automobiles have been disconnected entities. The focus on converting large volume of vehicle connectivity data (car & driver) into usable, customer-centric products and services is the next big innovation. Consumer are expecting lot of new age services which can be possible only when OEMs, connectivity providers & service eco-system players converge to unlock enhanced value from connected vehicles.

Below, I have tried to explore it from the MNO lens. While the aftermarket (direct-to-consumer) opportunity of data monetization is much bigger for the MNO due to customer ownership, in some cases, the built-in opportunity also becomes extremely lucrative, as detailed in our previous blog, “8 Industries being transformed by connected car data“; specifically when the automotive OEM has a service level understanding with the Mobile Network Operator. The data explosion, increased number of players in the connected car eco-system and longer commute time has given way to a plethora of possibilities for MNOs to create value for themselves, their partners and their customers.


In the next 5 years, a conceivable change is expected in the way users interact with their vehicles. It requires Automotive OEMs and Mobile Network Operators to collaborate on the connected car paradigm that jointly allows them to drive differentiated value propositions for the user in unique digital scenarios. While driving value, they also need to ensure Scalability, Expandability, Security & Big data Capabilities of this platform bridge.

What’s Next?

If you are a Mobile Network Operator or a player from the connected car eco-system, connect with us to maximize your IoT revenue streams. Airlinq is a frontrunner in this transformation. Our white labeled platform is trusted by leading MNOs & Automotive OEMs across the globe to tie their connectivity needs and monetization plans.

Connect with our platform specialist

Kunal Upadhyay

Director Airlinq

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