What if HP Became an MVNO?

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

What if HP Became an MVNO?


All the talk about the Android versus Apple platforms has been interesting, but it leaves out the Blackberry, which actually puts out some rugged, well-liked devices. And there is a sleeper in the corner. That sleeper is HP.

HP bought Palm for a billion, so it is likely going to launch a handset soon. But what if HP went even further? What if HP became an MVNO? Doing a deal with Sprint and Clearwire would give it a big footprint and the ability to sell 4G data.

HP netbooks and tablets could be 3G/4G enabled and sold via HP.com - with a plan or not. But the Palm handsets could be wide open and mobile VoIP enabled. Imagine a handset that was not locked down by the likes of Ma and Pa Bell. Imagine a handset that you could do anything with. Imagine a handset that was a mini-computer.

Handsets become functionally retarded by the carriers, attempting to protect their ecosystem and revenues. That's really the big problem with the cellcos: selfish, short-sighted bean counters. It's never about what the customer wants or needs. It's about what you can shove down their throats by marketing, contracts, and lobbying efforts.

It's tough being an MVNO. Dealing with billing from a telecom carrier is an Excedrin migraine, but HP is big enough to handle that. (And probably in a better position to that than MITEL is. It could do it for MITEL as well just to make some extra points.) But if you are just an MVNO to sell your gear, then it might be less pressure. As for apps, Palm doesn't need to use Palm OS; it could use Symbian or Android to take full advantage of existing apps.

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So let's see become an MVNO to sell Palm handsets wide open.

Is this for HP's benefit or for the very small - let's face it, the numbers are small - number of people still interested in a Palm handset?

Step one - take a year to negotiate wholesale pricing with Sprint and Clearwire that has restrictions on usage and is good enough that you probably won't take a huge bath but still can't offer plans that are competitive with the other carriers (including Sprint)

Step two - roll it out and spend a fortune on marketing and MDF to try to build an HP MVNO brand and push the Palm handsets

Step three - watch these wonderful wide open phones end up on other Sprint MVNO plans

Step four - absorb the losses and losses and losses

But, hey, you're in the MVNO game with a mini-computer for a handset

Throw good money after bad

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