Mobile carriers apparently take “almost 50-60 percent of any mobile content/data sold” on the networks, reports Rafat Ali of PaidContent.org from the “Making M-Commerce a Reality” conference in London. Presumably, he’s talking about European carriers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the starting point in the US as well.

If you want to use their networks and their handsets and their customers, you’ll pay them well for the privilege. Rafat Ali reports one participant saying, “Each partner you talk to, they don’t see the entire value chain…all they want to take their chunk out of the business.” Partners? Actually, it’s an insult to the Mob to call these kinds of charges vigorish — the operation’s of an illegal bet. The vig is seldom more than 5%

Alan Reiter rants about the greed of the carriers on his site:

The dolts who make these decisions think they understand the dynamics of the Internet. The cellular industry for years has studied the Internet and have been desperately trying to copy what has been successful in order to transfer the successes to wireless data. But it boggles the mind how clueless cellular data executives truly are.

It certainly is possible to create a model where the cellular operator receives revenues from preferred applications vendors while, at the same time, allowing subscribers to download any application.

He points to the too-closed for my taste I-mode system, where content and applications companies pay to be listed on the phone, but not to participate in the network.

If you listen hard, you can hear the broadband internet access duopolies muttering about these kinds of “partnerships”.