Still Waiting For Wireless Data Services In The US

Something of a wide ranging article from, that discusses a bunch of different issues in the wireless world – none of which will be new to readers around here. However, the main focus of the article is that wireless data services are still not catching on. This is both over and under-hyped in the article – and they follow it up by throwing out a ton of different wireless “issues” that may or may not contribute to the slowness of data services adoption. First off, it’s still early in the process, so there’s no reason to condemn the entire concept of wireless data services. In fact, some would say wireless data services are doing quite well if you include the number of people using WiFi. It’s just when you ask who’s making money from wireless data that you’re left with a lot of questions. There are some good points in the article saying that standards and interoperability are holding back certain data services. It’s true, to some extent, but it’s more of a stubbornness problem than a technology problem. It’s certainly possible to overcome differences in network technologies – the real issue is coming up with some openness in terms of letting data services work across different carriers and letting more developers into the process. Again, it’s a case where the carriers are afraid to open up at all, because they want to make sure that (a) there’s a tollbooth and (b) they run it. From a first pass viewpoint, this makes sense, since they want to make money. However, it’s a shortsighted strategy in that they’re actively slowing down adoption by not opening things up and pushing interoperability. Getting new services out there and encouraging usage will help lead to increasing usage of mobile phones and additional business models. Certainly there will be some failures, but trying to plan the whole thing out to make sure that the carriers get a clear revenue stream isn’t going to work.

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