Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wireless Providers Shoudn't Fear All-You-Can-Eat Data Plans

For $99 a month, you get only data but unlimited data.  Plus, you can use whatever app you damn-well please.  

And it's isn't "unlimited but".  It's "unlimited".

It's quite pricy but over time competition might drive down the price a bit.  Currently, there are no plans out there like this but this could be where the mobile market is headed.  The wireless providers are moving onto the 4th generation wireless network like LTE.  Though how like this will happen I am not certain but it opens up the opportunity for wireless providers do away with ancient ways of doing business and begin to embrace what the future holds.

I think what many wireless providers are afraid of is that they'll simply become dumb pipes.  With the services they are looking to provide like GPS, mobile television, and app stores, it isn't likely that will happen unless they cannot compete with other services from device makers or other 3rd party services.

What's more, even as LTE and WiMax goes live and become widely available, most of America will still call upon regular cell services or 3G networks for their mobile computing and access.  The slow rollout of 4G access and services, happening now for WiMax and through 2013 for LTE, affords Verizon Wireless and Sprint the plenty of time to get more acclimated to the new reality and explore new business models.

If they fear that everyone will only embrace services and apps provided by the handset makers, they shouldn't so long as they offer compelling products of their own to compete.  Not everyone is going to be slave to Google's webapps or will find Google Voice to be the pinnacle of tomorrow's mobile communication.  And there are plenty of folks who cannot stand Apple's walled garden.  

In fact, going from the current model of charge for voice and data to just data gives the wireless providers the opportunity to follow the current models being used with DSL and cable Internet access.

They can charge or tier access in terms of speed, tethering, or access with a router for use with multiple devices or laptops.  This flexibility is a win-win for the wireless providers as well as customers who can decide for themselves their needs.

For reasons that are important to the global interests, the wireless providers also have a public responsibility in doing what they can for the national interest.  Such a new model can provide new economic as well as educational opportunities.  

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