Telecom Italia Mobile Doesn't Want To Share

Here are some very honest quotes from Telecom Italia Mobile’s Managing Director saying basically that they hope mobile data remains more about person-to-person communicating than about downloading content. He points out when it involves content, they need to share the revenue with content partners, and they don’t like that. They want all the money for themselves – and it appears that they’re realizing that there’s quite a bit of money in wireless data. He says an active data user provides them 4 to 5 times the revenue of a voice user, while an active MMSer provides them 8 times the revenue. Because of this, he says there’s no way he could see them going beyond their walled garden approach because (oh no!) what if users could get content without (gasp!) paying some money into Telecom Italia Mobile’s coffers: “These third parties would like to bypass the operator, but we’re the King Kong in this market, and we can’t allow them to do that.” He also pointed out something that people have known for a while, but few executives were willing to admit publicly: “High-speed interfaces to every user will cost us a huge amount of money, so the lower the speed the better the balance sheet.” Of course, these are things you can get away with if there’s no competition – but, in both cases, once competition starts to show up, it’s pretty difficult to completely avoid offering the consumers what they want (which is likely to include higher speed systems and open access to content).

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