23 thoughts on “As Mobile Data Grows, People Want Wireless Carriers To Buzz Off”

  1. So what are some examples of carriers trying to sell apps nowadays? If you’re just thinking of J2ME on feature phones, maybe that notion is a bit dated? Some clarification would help.

    Do you think it is possible for carriers to foster app development/growth on platforms like Android, Symbian/Maemo, iPhone, webOS, Blackberry? What if carriers brought something to the table to differentiate these platforms for their network, like carrier service integration? With a few of the aforementioned platforms going open source, do you see some different roles for carriers?

    Would also be interesting to see the % of folks surveyed who have a data plan on their mobile device as well as the % of users who had feature phones vs. smart phones.

  2. We don’t need a survey to let us know that people want freedom to choose. This is the basis of free markets which apparently they don’t teach this type of thing at where ever the wireless carrier C-levels went to school.

  3. @Andrew Norton

    I actually had a more snarky headline but then changed my mind. I had just meditated and well being mean wasn’t part of the plan today 🙂

    More importantly, I got some good food in me, so I turned to be even more mellow. But you are right — I don’t think the carriers actually do have a clue about what people want.

    Reminds me of that movie with mel gibson 🙂

  4. @absolutgcs,

    the numbers of smart phone vs feature phone owners vary. i have the data but will go through the spreadsheets to give you a better sense of that information.

  5. I was looking at Verizon’s brew catalog and was surprised that twitter and facebook were not part of their app library. Most of the apps on their are subscription based which would lead me to believe a slower adoption is in place ($1.99 a month for pacman? come on).

    On the GSM side, the US branded phones from T-Mobile and AT&T appear to have pretty locked down sandboxes for j2me apps so apps like Opera or others may not work properly if at all, further causing this erosion. They do make it difficult for consumers to truly discover the capabilities of their devices.

  6. I’m intrigued by the new carrier, Zer01 Mobile, that got some buzz last week. $69/month unlimited voice/data with no contract and they encourage people to bring their own WinMo phones. This seems like a step in the right direction, providing a service with fewer strings attached.

  7. The carriers have consistently tried to impose some contrived self attested technology over free markets. This whole thing has repeated before, look at IMPS (Instant Messaging and Presence Service) as an example, they tried to squash existing im services by publishing their own.

    This was a colossal failure, because people don’t want their mobile services to be stand alone, they want it to work with what they use on their desktops and laptops. This logic holds good for voip too and for any service which has succeeded. If only they understood that. The biggest apps in the iphone marketplace are apps like Pandora, Facebook, Fring which connect cellphones to existing services. They are not dumb per-se, they just should stop re-inventing the wheel.

    They are waking up though, Vodaphone acquired ZYB for instance. Clear case of acquiring a service which works across mediums.

  8. Mobile devices will never be able to compete with desktops/notebooks. Mobile devices should be used only for the purpose they are there. Downloading and running apps is always going to be too much for a device. Let’s live offline as well for sometime everyday.

  9. The only reason any sane person would want to be in the walled garden is because they were unable to break out or climb over the walls. Let’s face it, nobody wants to see tv shows made by comcast and nobody wants to see content from sprint. The model that has worked for ISPs, where the carrier provides the pipe and people who are good at content provide the content will hopefully prevail in the mobile space as well, although there are chill winds blowing in terms of bandwidth caps in the US. I suspect we will see more of this crap and that it will be largely associated with futile attempts to avoid becoming the bitpipe at the expense of the subscriber.

  10. Traditionally, the carriers have controlled the entire value chain using their walled garden approach. However, now they are in real danger of getting reduced to a dumb pipe as new business models emerge. Though it is difficult to say which business model would finally emerge, one thing is clear that carrier’s role is going to dimnish going forward. If anybody is interested in finding out about the business models in the wireless space, please click on the link ( http://www.telecomcircle.com/2009/03/business-models-in-the-wireless-industry/ )

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