VoIP provider, Vyke, has warned that mobile operators are poorly positioned to cope with latest industry developments.
Aaron Powers, head of business development at Vyke, said the operators are failing to spearhead new innovations – leaving them open to greater than ever competition from a new breed of rivals.
"Metro WiFi networks are springing up everywhere; there’s one in Singapore – a whole country covered by WiFi," he said.
"At the same time handsets are advancing to a stage where they are becoming the access point for services installed by the consumer, meaning they don’t need network-provided services anymore, and this goes straight to the core of mobile operators’ revenues.
"That leaves them poorly positioned in a rapidly evolving market. They need to be the ones directing these changes in a way that benefits them or they’ll get leap-frogged."
Powers also criticised telecoms operators for opposing the European Commission’s proposal to cap mobile data roaming rates.
European telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding is set to recommend restrictions on data roaming fees this autumn.
She has also made clear she intends to impose caps on SMS roaming charges and mobile termination rates, proposals which have drawn widespread criticism from a number of European telcos.
Citing a recent GSMA report, Powers claimed that the rising uptake of mobile data services was boosted by a 25 per cent fall in roaming rates in the year to April 2008.
"Actually when you look at it, a small reduction in roaming rates has led to operators making a lot more money off data by volume of usage," he said.
"Yet all of a sudden there’s uproar when the EU tries to set a cap – mobile providers have taken a head in the sand point of view."