by Carlo Longino

Operators Plotting To Knock Google Out Of Mobile

from the good-luck dept

When it comes to data and content services, mobile operators' efforts are driven by control, whether it's walled gardens or restrictive terms of service. In many cases, operators seek to lock things down and try to force, or at the very least, steer users to content and services from providers with whom they have a commercial relationship. In other words, users don't get the best content, they get content that pays the operators the most. This sort of money-first, users-second mentality would seem to be one of the reasons operators haven't been more successful at growing their data revenues. Slowly, this is starting to change, as some operators realize that to get people to use the mobile internet, they need to make it cheap and easy, and deliver the best experience possible at a fair price. But still, the desire for control lives on: a group of operators are now apparently hatching a secret plot to create their own mobile search engine to lessen their dependence on Google and Yahoo, two companies that have signed a bunch of deals with operators. The operators have been listening to all the hype surrounding mobile search -- hype that's nowhere near being justified -- and think this is a way they can wring more money out of it. That's a key point: they're not doing this to build a better search engine, or one that delivers a better user experience; they just think they can make more money. Again, this is the tail wagging the dog. Improving the user experience and delivering better and easier-to-use services to customers will grow revenues. Building a user-unfriendly search engine that puts commerce over useful content won't help, since users are resistant to paid search results. If a search engine keeps spitting out bad search results laden with pointers to things like content for sale, rather than the information users want, regardless of its source, people won't use it. Of course, the operators have an easy solution to that: lock down the phones and make it the only search engine they can access.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dataGuy, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 8:33am

    Their tube is too small

    "money-first, users-second mentality"

    Granted that is the core problem with most telco offerings and not just cellular providers. However, in the case of mobile access to the internet, my understanding is that the mobile networks couldn't support anywhere near a majority of their client base actually taking advantage of the mobile internet offerings. Which means they have to charge a "high" price, as a way to keep demand in check.

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

  2. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 8:51am

    And hopefully

    Of course, the operators have an easy solution to that: lock down the phones and make it the only search engine they can access

    Hopefully customer will realize an easy solution to that: Don't use the service.

    Between the **AA's trying to control everything in the world of music and movies, networks trying to control everything about their shows, and telcos trying to control everything about mobile access its not wonder that people are starting to stongly dislike big business.

    Why is it so hard for them to grasp the idea that if they treat the customer right then they will come out on top by having a loyal customer that will advertise for them by trying to get other people to join?

    Phase 1: Start service
    Phase 2: Treat customer properly
    Phase 3: Profit

    Instead they

    Phase 1: Start limited service
    Phase 2: Lie, cheat, treat customers badly
    Phase 3: What? Not much profit?

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

  3. identicon
    Buzz, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 9:44am

    I hate phone companies.

    I received a cellphone for Christmas last year. While I am grateful for the freedom/mobility I've been granted, I've also developed an utter hatred for the mobile market. Take this for example: my provider charges $2.50 per ringtone downloaded from their site. Are you kidding me? I'm paying $2.50 for an extremely low quality, shortened tune, that EXPIRES IN 90 DAYS. Yet, I can pay 99 cents for the full length, high quality version from a music vendor... and it stays forever. I could go on forever, but the only other one worth mentioning here are text messages: how is 15 cents per text message at all justified? That bandwidth does NOT cost that much, and I could talk for 3-minutes (land line) long distance for that much!

    Telcos have way too much control. They charge for things simply because they can, not because they need to cover their expenses. I am SO glad I found a web site that allows users to upload ANY MIDI THEY WANT and it'll convert it to a ringtone and send it to you FOR FREE. Now I have a freakin' tight Zelda ringtone. :P

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Bum, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 9:49am


    They should stick to service not content. But then again, there are so many stupid consumers out there that need to be taken advantage of.

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

  5. identicon
    LOL, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 9:59am

    And how do they feel about WIFI phones ?? about not getting profits for customers using their home WIFI or free WIFI to access mobile web content?? Or are they playing a major part in the delayed development of these handsets?

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

  6. identicon
    Tin Ear, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    I have a one-number cell in my car.

    I bought it years ago and used it for a couple of years. It was extremely limited in service and functions. Since then, I have seen ads and internet buzz about all the fancy-shmancy phones they sell now along with the hype about how you ain't cool unless you have the bleeding edge of phone tech. It's all hogwash. I found that I DON'T NEED the phone 24/7. I found that there are times when I don't have to be available for calls. I keep the phone charged, in my glovebox in my car. For one call, and one call only. That of 911, if I am in an accident or I come across one on the road. That's it.

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

  7. icon
    Nick D (profile), Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:08am

    Hey telcos? Why not make your own phones, copper cables, switches? Oh, because you know you are not good at this? It is not your core competency? Well neither is search or portals. Give up! The leaders in search did not get there precisely because they let organic search prevail.

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

  8. icon
    Nick D (profile), Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:11am

    meant to say The leaders in search got there precisely because they let organic search prevail over paid.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:26am

    Please try not to make your news so one-sided. My 5 year old brother could write a story presenting his opinion and not use phrases like "hatching a secret plot" and "so they can find ways to wring more money out of the innocent consumer" which completely ruin any credibility your story had as being a safe/fair/neutral view of world news.

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

  10. identicon
    SailorAlphaCentauri, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:55am

    Re: I hate phone companies.

    Hey, Buzz. Let me know what company you're with so that I can avoid it at all costs. I agree that paying $2.50 for a ringtone is ridiculous, but at least my ringtones don't expire. That's beyond outrageous. It's saying that you are renting a song for 90 days & that you've no ownership of the content you've purchased.

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

  11. identicon
    a, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 11:15am

    Uhhh, don't the search engines do that themselves? Don't they give higher rankings to sites that they have relationships with? Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

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

  12. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 8:23pm


    not usually, normally they have a special panel where thier own pages appear, along with another for ads and another for normal results. A good example of this is the new google UI for search results pages which I have seen. I posted a link here about six months ago, but I don't know where that link is now, so I will have to find it again. Even the current google results are clear on what is thier own content , what's ads, and whats links (except perhaps google video).

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.