Looking for "Rational Economics" In The Wireless Business

An interesting interview with Sprint PCS President Len Lauer talking about how Sprint PCS plans to become profitable. He argues that it’s important to get people to pay more for their mobile phone – and the way to do that is to offer compelling data services. Of course, he doesn’t seem to know what those compelling data services are – and, when asked, makes vague assertions about the importance of picture messaging. He trots out the same old line that people will want to send each other pictures for the “instant gratification” aspect. So, he makes it sound like he’s betting the business on snapshots. Ouch. While I do think there’s a huge opportunity in more advanced messaging as a platform for applications on a mobile phone, I still don’t understand the obsession with the idea of sending simple pictures back and forth. He also admits in the interview that he’s scared that VoIP over WiFi (or is that VoWiFi?) is a potential threat to their business. Finally, he discusses number portability, and basically admits that it’s going to be a mess and once it shows up consumers are going to be annoyed at how badly all the carriers have implemented it.

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