Saving the mobile industry from itself

The mobile telecom industry is cutting its own throat.
They’re trying to cover their capital expenditures and spectrum costs by increasing revenue per customer, rather than gross revenue. This results in counterproductive behavior by the carriers:
* increasing customer acquisition costs, feeding a retail distribution system that is comparable to that of the automobile dealers in its dishonesty, sleaziness, and customer unfriendliness.
* relying on proprietary handsets and services, so they can sell more stuff to their customers.
* creating pricing plans that are incomprehensible to their customers and to their sales force. I recently went phone shopping and found that neither my local AT&T dealer nor his company rep understood the plan he wanted to sell me.
The mobile industry needs a makeover if it’s to be saved.
* Open the network. Allow ISP’s and others to provide competitive services on mobile networks. Allow any device with the correct protocols and an account (or a credit card) to use the network. Support hardware, software, and service developers who want to use your net to sell to your customers. This will increase service to your customers and their switching costs at no cost to you.
* Rationalize pricing. Provide a simple, usage-based pricing model that lowers price per minute as use increases and treats all minutes (local, long distance, roaming, data) equally.
* Move to a direct-sales model. If pricing were rationalized and equipment were opened, customers would come to the carriers and cost per sale would be lower. We’d also be spared the current tedious branding advertising for mobile carriers that promise dubious benefits to consumers.

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