Reading Reflection VII: wired…not!

Seeing What’s Next: “Breaking the Wire” 2004. Christensen

A critical piece here is pricing, mobile technology is only affordable with low capacity data: texting and voice. Video and data is extremely expensive, everywhere. Telcos have already understood that we’re in a mobile, multi-tasking society and therefore it makes sense that we need technology that will support that. However, telecommunication companies are also trying to offset the massive losses from the landlines business, which in a price-cutting world of overshot customers is extremely difficult to do. But telco companies have the resources (as Christensen argues) to really invest and develop the necessary infrastructure to support mobile technology. This brings me to the second critical factor: The infrastructure. The crux with infrastructure is that it is proprietary and therefore is hard to visualize any disruptive technology player able to offset traditional telecommunication companies… other than the government.

However, if mobile phones could operate on the Internet (mobile Voip), for which the Internet needs to become much more prevalent than it is today, then telcos are really going to have a hard time surviving. So at this point, mobile technology diffusion hinges on who owns the infrastructure and those who do, have the upper-hand on pricing which I believe to be the main adoption accelerator at this point.

Questions to ponder:

1. How would mobile technology diffusion change if the infrastructure (access) became part of the commons?

2. What pricing structures (i.e. paying for the amount of data vs. paying for the access) do you think can accelerate adoption of smart phones in the U.S. while still benefiting telecommunication companies?

3. What impacts may the emerging “mobile VOIP” technology have to existing hardware and mobile phone plans?