Techdirt Loves Interoperability, Applauds Zeglis

At a speech at the Las Vegas Comdex show yesterday, AT&T Wireless Services CEO John Zeglis discussed how the wireless industry has performed the past couple of years. Zeglis also said that “if the industry is to live up to its full potential, carriers will need to champion interoperability for such features as push-to-talk, picture-sharing and short codes for text messaging.” We couldn’t agree more. Any application or service that resembles a communication service should be as interoperable as possible, to offer the greatest value to consumers, for which they will reward providers. Imagine a startup today launching a cellular phone company, but saying that instead of 10-digit phone numbers, they would use 6-digit hexadecimal phone numbers, and they would not inter-operate with all the existing phones in the world. How successful will they be? Now why does anyone think that they should launch SMS, MMS, or PTT in a similar fashion? For Pete’s sake, unless your company has 90% of the market (a la MSFT), you need to operate with everyone else. Metcalfe’s Law states that the value of a network is exponentially related to the number of nodes on the network. This means that, for example, Cingular’s network’s value is increased by AT&T’s network.

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