Sunday, February 06, 2005

Carrier influences-why bluetooth gets crippled

We all know bluetooth and we all love it-when it works perfectly. While this wireless transmission system is a standard in almost every Palm powered PDA that doesnt have WLAN, many smartphones have neither of the two. Users always make a fuzz about the omission, but nothing changes in the end-the Qool QDA700 came without bluetooth, and the TREO 650 had its wireless profiles crippled! But why? Bluetooth allows you to attach different peripherals as needed, and allows you to share files with your desktop computer..
Bump, reality check! Many users use bluetooth to access the internet at home. They have a bluetooth dongle/router and surf the internet wirelessly using their home internet access-especialy handy while using a home trainer. Bluetoth peripherals are still uncommon.
Now, its all about internet access. The most expensive service at my carrier is just that-1Meg of GPRS data costs about a €. If I would have done all my surfing via their networks, the company would be rich by now-my T3 creates like 2Meg of traffic a day. Now, a smart phone already has the GPRS access integrated(the T3 would ned bluetoth to connect to a mobile phone), and users want to get their email, etc-thats why they did not get a dumbphone in the first place!
So, now we understand the way providers think-full bluetooth is bad for business. But, why do licencees support this system? Well, every carrier has his own selection of handsets that he subsides and thus sells cheaply. When opening/elongating their contract, most users simply take one of the phones on offer and don't even consider the other alternatives available on the market. Thus, a smartphone without carrier subsidiation is a sitting duck with little mass-market potencial. Carriers know the power that they have over device sales-and have little scruples to use it for maximizing income-even if they have to remove "useless" features from their machines!
What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do vendors/licensees/whoever go along with what the carriers want? Simple - if you want to be on the carrier's network, you have to follow the carriers rules. I have worked with carriers in previous jobs. They are VERY protective of their networks - after all, it is ultimately their whole business. If they even think something will crash their network they don't let it on. Oh, and unless they test the &*^*&% out of it, they assume everything will crash their network.

Now this "reasonable" mentality is used by the beancounters to throttle any mechanism that can rob them of a penny. The only down side is that they're too slow to consider a really good money making opportunity - charge extra for the feature (like Bluetooth DUN - there are a lot of folks who would fork out a few dollars a month for this "additional" feature).

4:26 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

this is indeed interesting but somehow understandable. Carriers-as you already mentioned-depend on their networks for life. but, I do not see a way how bluetooth/WLAN can damage their networks. How???
The only thing that I see endangered is the revenue margin for GPRS data....
Just my 2 cents and thank you for the comment
Best regards
Tam Hanna

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us just see what peripherals will come for the Qool ODA 700. Although it already shows a poor battery life without bluetooth there my be things coming in the future..

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could Bluetooth damage a network? Simple - you turn on DUN and now your phone becomes a conduit between the carrier's network and other devices. What are these other devices and what might they push onto your phone and the network? The testers will fight this tooth and nail. The beancounters will want to stem the flow of revenue.

The tester in a carrier network is a very powerful person. They are the gardians of the network and know that nothing gets on unless it gets their approval. Their attitude towards anything new is that it is the most vile source of evilness to their network in existence. It has to prove it is on the side of right.

Our new technology is banging its head against an old mentality. That is the biggest danger here.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

while I understand your idea about DUN, I cannot comprehend it. Can't a Java/Symbian program send exactly the same junk over the network? It also has access to the network, and thus can do whatever it wants... .
Personally, I cannot find another theory though-DUN would have caused lots and lots of revenue via expensive data transmission. So, your idea stands!
Thank you for commenting
Tam Hanna

5:55 PM  

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