Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Today's wonderful tale of woe

Martin Geddes - Telepocalypse



Sometimes I feel a bit sheepish introducing myself as the author of a blog called “Telepocalypse” or the director of “Telepocalypse Ltd.” — it seems rather pretentious to have transformed what was just a joke between myself and my brother into its own micro-brand under such a provocative and un-corporate name. (I guess it also doesn’t exactly help the cause of selling consultancy to telcos wanting rescue advice, but it’s a happy living, nonetheless.) What if telecom soldiers on quite nicely thank-you, the weed-free walled gardens bloom and prosper, and I’m left with more egg than Sainsbury’s?
But then again, there are days when I read articles like this one on the Mobile Technology Weblog, and I have to grin wickedly with schaudenfreude.
Mobile Content Purchased Off-Portal Grows
… [Selling content via an operator’s mobile portal] required little risk (other than the cost of developing the content) but the operators took a massive cut of the revenues - around 50%. And since about 70% of content was sold this way, that was probably the best route, provided you could persuade the operators to co-operate. This wasn’t easy without an existing relationship and a track record and it was excruciatingly slow.
… But according to Vodafone and Orange in the UK, off-portal now accounts for some 70% of all content sold. This is an important trend.
As the CEO of Ryanair said, they’ll crawl across broken glass butt-naked to get low prices.
… Finally, it rather proves Gareth Jones, the COO of UK’s 3 network, wrong when he said last year:
“People don’t want open access, that’s not what our customers tell us they want. Anyone in their right mind who tries to do anything on the Internet with a screen that size has to be nuts.”
It looks like either all the other networks’ customers are different from 3’s, or 3’s walled garden approach may not last too much longer, if they’re wise.
Telepocalypse prediction: within the next 18 months at least one tier-one mobile operator will abandon its own portal offering and partner with MSN, AOL, Yahoo! or a locally-strong equivalent. (And this is assuming, in my ignorance, none already have.)

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