Mobile operators and innovation are not two terms you'd put usually together. Most still operate their network as a walled garden. But there are some chinks of light, as highlighted by a talk I attended at Forum Oxford. I didn't realize that non-members of the mobile phone association GSMA could also get involved in collaborative projects.
You have to dig through their website to find it, but as Graham Trickey of GSMA explains, there are some interesting opportunities emerging.