Network operators want to challenge the internet search giants

by Daniel Raffel

In what sounds like a bid to work together to continue to keep their network and services closed there are rumors online that many of the major European network operators are planning meetings together next week at the 3GSM conference.

The discussions are supposedly around attempting to collaborate on building a mobile phone search engine. If any of this is true it certainly sounds like another way that network operators are searching, no pun intended, to increase their bottom line through limiting the offerings to consumers, developers and potentially advertisers.

It's not surprising that the carriers are taking proactive steps to attempt to disallow internet search giants from disrupting potential future revenue. Unfortunately, I'm guessing they will do more harm than good to their own cause. Through fighting off threats by keeping their network closed they will eventually turn off consumers who are expecting more choice, higher quality of service, and decreased costs. Worse, they will continue to thwart innovation while others step up and attempt to fill the niché.

I wish the carriers would just play to their strengths and do what they do best (not get into a new market). Furthter, I wish they would be open to adopting innovation in both technology and business practices. In my opinion, if they stopped fighting the change that's bound to happen they could embrace and support the coming disruption in their industry and benefit the most from it all.

2 Comments

gz
2007-02-04 19:51:08
Agree - only thing less likely than innovation from one carrier is innovation from 10 combined carriers.
Mark Grandcolas
2007-02-06 13:52:00
Co-operation among competitors does not spur innovation.
The first operator who breaks from the pack and opens up the network and makes the concious decision to be a "dumb pipe" will benefit. The rest will then follow like sheep. They will always be able to offer their own premium services in addition to this, and those that offer the best services will benefit most. It is after all, the "mobile" internet, so freedom to go wherever you want is fundamental to making it work just as well as the wired one. At some point, google or yahoo can offer a voice over IP handset that runs on WIFI networks. Operators want to open up before then, not after.