Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Low demand or stupid network: a single network is enough

AP, AOL and Pew conducted a survey among 1503 US adults on cell phone habits and usage. Among the results:
  • dislikes for new services: take pictures 53%, play MP3s 74%, record video clips 74%, play games 66%, use the internet 70%, SMS 52%, IM 81%, email 68%, watch TV 84%, search 69%
  • 77% have fixed line, 55% not likely to drop fixed line
  • 74% have second cell phone, 17% have 3 cell phones, 9% have 4 phones
This is pretty much in line with Enders Analysis' report on mobile video downloads. (The outfit expects the market to actually shrink, as mobile broadcast TV and PC downloads expand.) The quote a BMRB survey, that pointed to little interest in 3G services:
  • 53% not at all interested in services such as video calling, watching video clips, download music (7% have a capable handset and 16% very or quite interested)
  • 59% not interested at all in watching TV (26% is extremely/very/quite interested)

Also, a recent KPGM survey showed that 40% was not willing to pay extra for multimedia services.

Now, in 3G operators chose to each have their own network - unfortunately, one may now remark. But at this point operators can still make a sound decision when it comes to mobile video/TV, which requires a new network. Of course, there are proponents for each technology (Alcatel, Qualcomm, IPWireless, Nokia), but one can only hope that carriers opt for a wholesale model, with just one network operator and existing mobile operators as service providers.

This actually is a model that would work in other areas too:

  • The stupid network: think of the Amsterdam Citynet (FTTH), that has BBned (Telecom Italia: is it or is it not up for sale?) as network operator and invites anyone to be in charge of services.
  • Low demand (rural): the new WiMAX operator in Canada, Inukshuk Wireless, is a wholesaler, with Bell Canada and Rogers Communications as service providers (even if Inukshuk is jointly owned by Bell Canada and Rogers).

PS: I recall surveys from BouygTel, SFR, Telefonica Moviles, BT/Virgin (the wholesaler/service provider model) and Arqiva/O2 (same model, different technology). Each claimed success, high demand and willingness to pay. However, that is not quite fair - check out Swanni's comment on claims fromUniversal Pictures about people watching movies on their PC:

"So if the majority of that small audience is watching video iTunes on their
PCs, that's meaningless. It doesn't represent the majority of the TV audience,
or even a small segment."

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