"...it will be more akin to connecting someone to the electricity grid, just the base enabler of the real revenue model."
For example a few years ago I was working in the Republic of Ireland but still kept my home in the UK. On coming back on holiday I was surprised by a bill from the water company. It was not large, only a matter of £30 or so. I got in contact with the company and complained. I said that the company had not provided me with any service as I was out of the country (we are on meters here) and that as they had given me nothing they should expect nothing in return. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, that they had the right to bill me and that the bill was for the "Standing charge". That is I had to pay them for the privilege of being connected to the mains whether I used any water or not.
I suspect that these mobile operators will claim that being connected to their network should also involve a "Standing charge."