Telcos: stay out of the content game

Via Stuff, and the SMH, a headline that seemingly spells bad news for the iPhone in Australia: “iPhone not so multimedia friendly in Aust

The article goes on to say that the iPhone is unable to play many of the Telco giants mobile offerings, such as Vodafone Live, Telstra’s Big Pond TV or Optus’ ringtones or mobile TV channels.

So what. The news is that these services are not really wanted – and have only been used to date because it has been too hard and to expensive to do anything else with your phone. This walled garden approach went the way of AOL years ago in internet space, and so it should in mobile internet space.

I’ll keep saying this forever – Telecom, Telstra, Optus, AT&T and Vodafone should stay out of the content game and in the provision of decent network game. As soon as they enter the content game then they are competing against the entire internet – and that’s a game they will lose.

The internet ISP’s are increasingly realising this – witness the gradual demise of Xtra’s web services in NZ, and the strong and getting stronger IINet in Australia, who concentrate on service delivery.

It is beyond time for the mobile operators to go simple, and lose the content.

The market is open for the IInet of mobile: Simple pricing that changes automatically as you change usage, cheap fixed price international roaming, and all you can eat (international) data.

Published by Lance Wiggs


6 replies on “Telcos: stay out of the content game”

  1. Its a bit like power companies saying “You can plug in your Ourbrand Appliance at the normal fee, but if you decide to buy a different TV/Toaster then you’ll be paying a premium.”


  2. lotech – exactly right.

    Years ago the power companies used to (still?) sell whitewear and other electrical appliances – all on “easy terms”. Now they sell power only.

    Q: yes it is a walled garden for lots of things, but it makes internet browsing simple and doable. Google’s traffic from iPhones is testament to that. But well I see a jailbreak in my future, especially when I am in NZ.

    If I was a telco I would concentrate on being a telco. Investors in utilities stocks want a nice solid steady return. Leave the ferrits for someone else.


  3. I don’t have an iPhone yet and won’t get one for a while. But I agree. All I want from a phone is a friendly interface and a reliable unobtrusive service wherever I go. Telco content gets in my way.


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