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Although leading mobile network operators (MNOs) enjoy a healthy profit margin, revenues are stagnating while the size of the investment requirements keeps increasing at a rapid pace. In response to the current situation, operators take different directions towards the future. Enter the up-and-coming R&D area of “smart cities” which aims at fostering sustainable urban development through the ubiquitous interweaving of real-world infrastructure with online and city services. This emergence of smart cities coincides with the search for new directions by leading MNOs. This paper adds to the discussion on new directions for operators and argues that the emergence of smart cities can create a synergistic environment for network infrastructure providers in which they can have a competitive advantage.