Thursday, 14 April 2005

Cellular greed: Vodafone Says Let Them Eat Marketing. This article from The Feature is the first definite sign I've seen of cell telcos' greed being detrimental to their own progress. Until now, I've always thought of this industry as being the most progressive one around - even more so than software, because it's extremely competitive, has a good mix of business and tech savvy, and has much to offer the world.

Sure, they were clobbered by the 3G license bonanza, but then they have the gravy of SMS fees (this extra channel costs them nothing - an accidental, and lucrative bonus). It would seem that this is not enough, and that they want to continue making money for no effort (of their own). This, coupled with their silly restrictions on phone functionality (eg. no bluetooth DUN on provider-locked phones), and their insistence on hefty GPRS charges, makes me wonder whether there are serious problems in the health of that market.

Is it too competitive? Not competitive enough? The key difference between this network and the internet is that the internet is open, whereas the global mobile network is factioned - regionalised and cross-charged. Could you imagine your ISP charging you 50% of your takings for your website? Could you imagine the eBays, Amazons and Googles of this world working in that context? They messed it up once with WAP; GPRS is still hovering in the early-adopter stage, and, unless they loosen their grip, 3G and proper data services will also stall. Leaving them, at least for a while, in another consolidating market. Stop charging for air, guys, and let the consumers breathe a little more.

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