Monday, September 10, 2007

Or maybe Apple is the real telco disruptor?

Do you remember my post "Google is the real telco disruptor" from july?

Well, it seems that the story could become even more interesting with another player entering the 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction that many didn't have on their list: Apple might also bid for that "bech front property" spectrum, suggests a BusinessWeek article called "Apple Eyes the Wireless Auction".

Taking into account this possible development many pieces of the puzzle would fall into their place. Why is the iPod touch such a cool device, an iPhone without phone? Why did Apple cut the price for the iPhone so soon and drastically?

In Germany the association eco, alliance of 330 big internet companies, hailed already last week the new device by saying "Wifi iPod makes mobile internet a mass market" in a press release. They are fed up with the slow acceptation of mobile internet service on Germany because the incumbent mobile operators keep 3G data prices high and accept only walled gardens on their devices.

"T Zones, Web-n-walk und Vodafone Live all try to keep away the user from the free and open internet", says eco director Harald A. Summa. "Exactly this policy of closed networks has so far prevented the breaktrough of the mobile internet to a mass market. The success of iTunes and Youtube shows that the users know much better than the operators what they really want." The new iPod touch offers direct Wifi access to iTunes and Youtube, circumventing the closed networks of the mobile operators.

So, let's just imagine that the iPhone never planned to sell millions. Maybe it's real purpose is just to create buzz for the new iPods? The iPod touch has every feature that you like from the iPhone. It only misses the annoying part of the phone: A 60 dollar per month cell phone contract. New iPods could work without that contract, using the 700 MHz spectrum, suggests the article in BusinessWeek:
Signals at the 700Mhz spectrum, for example, could provide far faster Internet access than today's cellular or even Wi-Fi networks, and the signals can easily pass through buildings and work glitch-free, even in lousy weather.

Still, even the possibility of an Apple bid is intriguing. For starters, it would mean Apple would no longer need to rely on a phone company to deliver songs, TV shows, and other digital fare purchased at its iTunes Music Store. As it is, the major complaint of iPhone shoppers isn't with the phone, but with the pokey Net access from Apple's exclusive U.S. partner, AT&T (T).

If it owned its own spectrum, Apple could provide the network service itself, possibly for far less than the $1,440 iPhone owners must now fork out over the course of the cheapest two-year contract. For example, Apple could hold down costs by letting users choose a Net telephony program such as Skype rather than develop its own voice software, say analysts.

Apple might even be able to give away network service for free, and make its money off services such as iTunes and possibly by selling subscribers advertising space.

Indeed, cutting out the carrier would probably be in sync with Steve Jobs' view of the world. Before striking the iPhone deal with AT&T, he publicly dissed phone companies as little more than "orifices"—good only for providing dumb pipes to deliver more innovative companies' more innovative services.

"Apple is the most anti-carrier company there is," says the former Apple executive. "They're probably already frustrated with AT&T. If they put a few billion behind this, they could build a kick-ass network." Indeed, on Sept. 5, Apple announced a new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store so consumers can buy songs at wireless hotspots, something they can't do on AT&T's network. And Jobs made a point of noting Wi-Fi is faster not only than the so-called 2.5G EDGE network, but also than 3G cellular networks.

A very convincing argumentation that matches perfectly with what eco said. That's also the reason why I had to copy such a long passage of the original article. (Sorry for that!) Hopefully it's not only intentionally leaked hot air to lift Apple's stock price.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you are right. Certainly the company that gives me always-on, handheld internet (real internet speed please) will get my money....

    If it's Apple then so much the better!


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