Like A Walled Garden, Only Sillier

One of 3 UK’s execs once said anybody that wants open internet access on their mobile phone is “nuts”. You might see the headline saying the carrier is about to open its walled garden and think they’d had a big change of heart, but as usual, the devil’s in the details. 3 will let customers access a few hundred sites that it has pre-approved, as apparently “The last thing the operator wants is for punters to access sites that are slow to load or simply don’t work with 3 handsets and its network.” Ah, so they’re using the old “we have to protect our customers” rationale to justify eliminating users’ choices and keeping traffic only on their own sites, or ones of which they approve. Isn’t it in users’ best interest, though, to be able to choose whatever content they want, rather than just what their carrier approves? If they’re that concerned about customers having trouble accessing sites, why don’t they do something more proactive about it, like install better browsers on the handsets they sell, or work with content providers to make their sites better suited to the mobile experience? It’s hard to believe the real justification for allowing access to only approved sites is so altruistic.

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