by Mike Masnick

Data On My Phone? But Why?

from the disconnect dept

There's been this absolute certainty by some in the wireless industry that "wireless data" was clearly the next big thing. However, it still seems like there's as lot of wishful thinking going on. We've pointed out that users tend to want phones that work for communicating first, before they're interested in all sorts of features. Combined with the fact that the costs of data services and phones is way too high, while the industry insists people want features they've rejected for forty years, such as video calls, and is it really a surprise at all that a recent survey found that not one person asked could say what kind of data package they had on their mobile phone? The problem is the same as it's been for years. The industry takes the "build it (and hype it!) and they will come" approach as opposed to actually understanding (a) why and how people use mobile phones and (b) explaining to them the real benefits of mobile data. So, they miss out on the fact that people use phones to communicate, not consume information. And they tell people about all sorts of useless things, focusing on the technology, rather than why it might be useful. If they really want people to use and accept data they need to move more towards flat-rate pricing (as the article suggests) and open up the ecosystem to encourage development of useful applications, rather than having the operators take random guesses at what apps people will want and then waiting for people to show up.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Griffon, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 11:17am

    verizon rip off

    The sad thing, it's all just data anyway. The fact the providers seem to feel they are entitled to "extra" fee's for sending sms or pictures or using your phone for data is joke to anyone with a clue.
    Verizon is the worse offender, there "data" plans are outrageous expensive and add no benefit or a per minute data usage of minutes unless you want to give them an extra $70 a month for unlimited ussage... X2 what I pay for dsl. These guys need to get wapped with a clue stick, look at asia, you want those kind of growth numbers you have to not jerk people around and nickle and dime them for for just doing the obvious with their phones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Ray, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 11:42am

    Data on Cell Phones

    This is a mystery to me as well. I asked them to turn off my phone's capability to access the internet. They have hard coded buttons that, if accidently pushed, will immediately start transmitting data at a charge to me. I cannot even look at my own account (for free) using the data transmit feature. These people are asleep at the wheel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Craig, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 12:14pm

    No Subject Given

    As one of those weird people you allude to in the post (I regularly use 30+ MB of data on my phone while only making 10-15 calls a month), I can tell you one thing. "What most people want" in a few years is usually what the geeks are doing today. The oft-quoted comment that nobody would want a computer in their house is a good example of why underestimating the public's eventual desire to consume something technological is a good way to let your competitors (even ones that don't exist right now) pull the rug of profitability right out from under you.

    Wireless data will be widespread and it will be just as popular as the Internet is now. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, but eventually.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 7th, 2005 @ 1:05pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Yes, I don't doubt the importance of mobile data. That wasn't the point of the post, and I'm sorry if I implied that. The point was that the operators and device makers are doing a HORRIBLE job selling data. They just assume people will come and use it. Some early adopters obviously are, but the overall pitch is pretty weak.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Dick West, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 2:59pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    While shopping mobile phones recently, I encountered many other shoppers who, like myself, were decrying built-in functions one must pay for whether needed or wanted or not. It is my desire to make calls from time to time, and when traveling, track incoming calls to which I might be unable to give immediate response.
    I will not be using many (if any) of the cutesie and unwanted features provided. I do not even wish to know what they are. When my current contract has run its course (or earlier!), I'll be searching for a mobile phone that meets but does not greatly exceed my needs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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