Wireless Carriers Give up on New Services

Google recently released an application called Latitude which allows you to give your friends access to your whereabouts on a Google map. When I tried to download it on my iPhone I received a message saying it is coming soon. I didn’t try on my XV6800 because the GPS has been crippled by HTC at the request of Verizon Wireless.

The service does allow control over what information is shared so privacy experts should be somewhat less concerned. Still, it is obvious that the trend towards having zero privacy regarding your location is alarming to people over 40. For those 30 and under, this is just another service allowing you to give up information which my generation calls personal. Did I really say “my generation?” I must be getting old. 🙂

Will it be a hit? Absolutely. Kids today never met an application which divulges their innermost secrets and personal information they didn’t like.

The fact that mobile carriers didn’t deploy this earlier is surprising to me as I saw demos of this technology in the labs of telecom equipment manufacturers five years ago.

You want to know why telecom equipment manufacturers aren’t selling more equipment to wireless carriers? It is because these carriers are really not rolling out new services in any meaningful way. Even worse, equipment manufacturers employ thousands of engineers thinking up new services and many of them are not deployed.

Nortel’s carrier division should start build apps for the iPhone because that is where the services revenue lies. This revenue model may seem like a joke for a multibillion dollar corporation and it is today but the opportunity is growing. Many wireless equipment providers will eventually become software companies. And this shift in the wireless market ensures this is the case.

Now that the iTunes App Store exists and Microsoft and others are following suit, it seems the wireless carriers are indeed giving up on new services and instead relying on third party apps to drive more data usage.

AT&T Wireless basically threw in the new services towel with the iPhone and charges you a monthly fee for wireless access which includes access to all the applications. The change in the market landscape is huge. Imagine if SMS was invented today. Instead of generating many billions of carrier revenue, it would be a free application.

Service providers have to a great extent given up on enhanced services it seems.

For equipment providers this means focusing more on helping carriers provide faster mobile wireless networks such as 4G. And this explains why the 4GWE event was so busy this past week. The industry must focus on this segment soon to maximize sales and profits because we have seen… In any economy, the demand for mobile broadband access only grows.

  • Noureen
    August 23, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Well the software is very simple. It is following you from the ping to your cell phone. It is good to use it to locate your cell phone if you lost it or got stollen. It is almost the same technology that police and 911 operators are using to locate you in case of an accident.

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