For the last decade and a half, at least, communication applications increasingly have been decoupled from network access and also are starting to be available across a range of devices used by a single person.

Another way of saying that is to note that “application-specific networks,” built to deliver a single lead application, no longer are the norm. Instead, virtually all major networks now are “multi-service” networks.

In some ways that has helped service providers, who now can sell multiple anchor products on a single network (voice, video and data). On the other hand, modern networks also fundamentally separate “access” from “applications,” meaning “over the top” competition now is easy.

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That of course also has the added danger of removing service providers from direct customer relationships on a wider range of products, services and experiences.

According to analysts at the Ericsson Consumer Lab, traditional communication verticals such as telephony and video conferencing will continue to exist as profitable businesses.

But it also is likely that customized communication solutions for the non-traditional communication needs of enterprises and government agencies will be where the incremental growth comes from.

Generally, that will take the form of communications added as a feature of an app, Ericsson says. Access decoupled from apps

Over time, the market has gotten poly-centric. In the past, each network operator built and operated a network delivering a single main service, radio, television or voice.

These days, of course, any lawful application using the Internet has “best effort” access to any connected end user. Also, many of the most-influential and widely-used applications are provided by firms that own no access assets.

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