Operators and data – new chapter but same story

By September 11, 2008 2 Comments

Venturebeat reported yesterday on a wireless panel at CTIA. Now that data has increased to 20% of wireless revenue operators have finally woken up to how important it is, but, and this is a big but, it seems they still don’t seem to understand that to really stimulate usage they have to let people do what they want.

Robert Dotson, CEO of T-Mobile is, according to Venturebeat, one of the most bullish on data revenues, and T-Mobile is leading the pack when it comes to adopting Google’s Android, with a phone reputedly due on the market in weeks, yet he still said this (as reported in VentureBeat):

Asked about distribution opportunities, Dotson said he believes that “some stewardship and control” by the carriers is needed because“ a wild west” for developers does not provide good quality for customers.

I am almost lost for words here. Has he learned nothing from the web? And does Dotson really think that T-Mobile have a good enough understanding of what people want to do on their phones to be helpful with that guiding hand, or is he more concerned about holding onto revenue?

As my old friend Jo Rabin said to me about a year ago operators are fond of erecting fences in the ruins of their walled gardens – to their continued detriment.

There is also a lot of interesting technical detail about android in the VentureBeat article if you are into that sort of thing. I hadn’t appreciated just how much work has gone into it, and it sounds like it could make a big difference to the mobile internet experience, although they will do well to overcome the challenges of working with operators and will need to convince developers to come to the platform.