Perspectives on working for a network operator

Eight months ago I jumped ship from Yankee Group to come and work for a network operator (3 UK) and I'm now on the cusp of returning to the analyst world with Analysys Mason. A very brief stint, but an interesting one. It has certainly given me a fresh perspective on the analyst's role in supporting MNOs.
  1. The grass is not always greener. As David Rossiter told me: lots of analysts want to work for network operators, but few who have done so would want to return. I had to do it, otherwise I'd have always wondered what life was like on the operator side of the fence.
  2. It's easy to be critical. As an analyst I always tried to be as understanding of the difficulties of running a mobile network. Now I'm even more sympathetic. I've always hated to watch analysts trying to tear apart execs by asking why they haven't done x, y or z, when they've been kind enough to grant a group of analysts an audience. Now I'm even more aware that it's easy for analysts in their ivory towers to recommend a course of action, it's a completely different thing to get it done.
  3. There's more to life than mobile TV. The analyst obsession with all things content is not reflected in the operator world. Voice and text generate revenue, while regulatory issues and technology roadmaps cause headaches. Focus on those and you can't go far wrong.
  4. Some of the work has been fascinating (regulatory, top-level strategy etc.) but some of it has been stultifyingly dull. Isn't it always the way?
  5. There's pros and cons to focusing solely on one market. You do get to know it very well, but I miss the travel and the variety!
  6. I missed 3GSM, no really! The opportunity to get together with the great and good in Barcelona was greatly missed.
  7. I prefer working for a smaller firm where you can see what's going on end-to-end and you have a lot of direct contact with the client. So working for a big (in the context of the companies I've worked for, 3 is big) company hasn't really suited me perfectly.

Hopefully this brief sojourn in the operator space will make me a better analyst. I think it has.