How big is the mobile opportunity?
Today is a great day in the USA. Wireless Number Portability has arrived! I wrote about this last year and am glad that we have finally arrived to the point where number portability is now doable. So what is number portability? Well, effective today, you can change mobile phone provider without having to worry about changing your phone number. For example, if your phone number is (646) 555 1212, you can still keep the same number but choose between different mobile phone providers. An added extra is that you can also take your land-line phone number and port it to a mobile phone line. What’s the catch? Mobile phone operators sometimes work on different networks: GSM, CDMA, or TDMA. If you are switching between companies that are using different networks, you might have to change phone. If you are switching between GSM providers, all you may have to do is change your SIM card. If you are using a CDMA or TDMA provider, you might have to go to the store to get your phone reprogrammed with the new number. If you are still under contract with a provider, some penalty fees will be assessed. Make sure that you are…Read More
Imagine an industry where customers are leaving more quickly than they are joining. If you were part of that industry, would you: try to increase your level of customer satisfaction ? or fight any provision that would increase competition in your industry? If you are the wireless phone industry, you will go for the latter. The issue at hand is number portability. What is number portability? Well, put quite simply, it is a way to be able to use the same phone number regardless of which service provider you are using. It is essentially what now allows us to change long distance service or local service carriers from our incumbent bell operating company (for example, Verizon in New York) to another service provider (following the same example, one could now go to AT&T or RCN for phone service). Technically, and from the consumer standpoint, it’s a really great idea that fosters choice and increases competition. To the existing phone monopolies, it’s a nightmare because it means that they now must be offering better service or face losing their customers to the competition. The history In 1996, under section 251(b)(2) of the Telecommunications Reform Act, the US government specified that all…Read More
I was recently speaking at a conference called Escandinavia 2000, which covered the state of the Internet in Scandinavia. During that conference, I had a chance to speak to a number of people about the state of wireless in the Scandinavian countries. Here’s what I’ve learned and how it can help those of you who are working in the wireless space in the United States. The Hybrid World Lives! Many of you may remember the February 10th issue about Hybrid Computing. While talking with Birger Steen, CEO of Scandinavia Online, I discovered that the concept is not that far off the market. It is his contention that WAP-enabled phones are largely a pain in the back when it comes to interface. Having to key in every letter on the small phone keyboard is far from the easiest thing in the world. As a result, Scandinavia Online has developed a set of services that allows users of their portal jump on their site and configure their WAP view on the web. From his point of view, this is the best service he can offer now to wireless users. The point was reiterated by a few people around the conference that told…Read More