Traditional minded, dumb pipe— these are some of the common terms referred to the mobile operators.
Regardless of what the mobile operators think about the topic, I believe contents should be shared across different networks, platforms.
A content is a content, and thanks to the power of Internet today it should be accessible to any consumers out there (using SMS, MMS, WAP-Push, streaming, J2ME download) regardless of what mobile network, ISP or mobile platform they choose to use.
A simple example is the recent signing of Maxis as the official Mobile Broadcaster for 2010 FIFA World Cup. Part of that agreement allows Maxis to offer live streaming of FIFA World Cup to its subscribers, exclusive. But what about other Malaysians on DiGi, Celcom, U Mobile, Streamyx, P1WiMAX…?
If only Maxis could stop priding themself with 11-12 million customers, they could be making money by offering that live FIFA 2010 streaming to DiGi and Celcom subscribers for a fee via a third party content provider(ASP license). The content is free for Maxis subscribers anyway. Everything is possible if Maxis wants to do it plus, I don’t see how Maxis is going to profit from this FIFA sponsorship with ASTRO(other than branding).
Another question is how many phones would support this FIFA streaming? If Maxis is going to allow it on a small number of mobile phones, how about hundreds of other phones out there that can do streaming? So these are the things that Maxis should be looking at since this stream is coming from the Internet, so it cannot be limited to a certain platform. And if it is limited to a certain phone models/platform, then there is only Maxis to blame.
Even Internet related service can be across networks. Look at TM Hypp.TV service. Its a broadband TV service for Malaysians but only available to Streamyx subscribers. Suggestion to TM- Why not just call it Streamyx TV then?
TM can still do billing for non-TM/Streamyx users via a number methods. Today, we are billed for a service on a “postpaid” basis but why can’t we billed for a good content like Hypp.TV? Why limit consumers to the network? and Why limit yourself(TM) to just 1.6million broadband users? Even a WiMAX customer can become a Hypp.TV user!
Similarly, I think even download services such as ringtones, games, pictures and other mobile contents shouldn’t be limited to a particular network only.
As more content and service are being hosted on the Internet and no longer within a network, operators should think out of their network and not limit themself to a traditional minded service provider.
I hope the service providers in Malaysia(4 WiMAX operator, four 3G operator, TM and others) will start thinking now and think out the box. The first to do it, will not only make consumers happy, but also be the first to benefit from it.