Nice try, mobile operators

Opera Software is getting very friendly with mobile operators, and I think it's a good approach by these companies to use compression to be able to handle the increased traffic on their networks. Several of the world's biggest operators are now using Opera's compression technology as a cheap and efficient way to expand their capabilities.

What I don't like is the way some operators seem to be using misleading arguments, trying to force other companies to pay their bills for them. …

Bloomberg reports that European operators want service companies like Google, Apple and Facebook to to pay fees for the increasing amounts of data moving across operator networks (and operators in the US have expressed similar things).

Their argument seems to boil down to "they are transferring data across our networks without paying us for it", an argument which fails for at least three reasons:

  1. Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are already paying their own service providers to connect to the internet
  2. The mobile operator's customer already pays the operator to get access to those services
  3. It is the mobile operator's customer who decides on which services and sites to use

By claiming that service providers like Google, Apple and Facebook are transferring data across operator networks for free, the operators are making a directly misleading argument.

Google, Yahoo!, Apple, Facebook and others are not using your networks for free! They are paying their own bills to their own providers, and your own customers are paying you for the connection you provide them with.

Mobile operators need to realize that trying to fool people into paying them twice for something they should only have to pay them once for is not a good approach. A good approach is to address the issue properly.

For example, you can help move more people to the web rather than proprietary apps, and use web compression technologies to an even greater extent than today.


21 thoughts on “Nice try, mobile operators

  1. Customers are already paying through the roof to access the information they want. What a crock.By that asinine reasoning I'd be utilizing the mobile operator's bandwidth for free when I SSH to my desktop from my cellphone, even though I'm paying to have my desktop connected to the Internet through ADSL and I'm also paying for the bandwidth I use on my cellphone. What part of this is free?

  2. Net neutrality … The problem here is that this is a debate mostly conducted between companies and the technical scene although it's very important for every netizen and, as of Wikileaks, possibly every human. Everyone should know about it and *talk* about it.

  3. dualbore: No, we can regulate them. We need a law which forces all ISPs to maintain net neutrality. With some harsh penalties if they do not comply.I know regulations are not working perfectly with banks either – but it's better than just giving up on net neutrality.

  4. considering that, in the end of the day, it's all about money, the operators will probably invent some construction that makes even more people pay even more. Net Neutrality is a very important issue, but IMO we definitley have to kiss it goodbye, now that the major players in the market have discovered the possibillity of asking money for it. That's the way capitalism works. I'm just curious what will be the next thing to be capitalized.

  5. Leonhard, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree.Neutrality is a moral value and as such cannot be included in balance sheets. That's why it will dissapear. It's a matter of time. I'm not talking two weeks or so, but it will happen.Why hook upü on things like neutrality when your ROI could be higher? (and probably significantly higher?)Your idea about regulations sounds nice, but that's about it. It would have to be regulated on a global scale, and that's what won't happen any time soon. And voluntary regulation is just a big joke, so, no option either.

  6. Originally posted by dualbore:

    Neutrality is a moral value and as such cannot be included in balance sheets. That's why it will dissapear. […] It would have to be regulated on a global scale

    Um, what? It would have to be globally regulated in the same manner that human rights should globally apply, but that doesn't mean we should give up on the national level or even lower.

  7. The Golden Age of mobile operators has come to its end.Of course, a market oligopoly, is much more profitable, than caring about future, or upgrading infrastructure. Why work, if you have sms? $0.10 for each 160 bytes of data, 1.6 megabytes = 1000$, kinda cool ;)Carriers have not prepared for the predicted mobile web growth (which was ~300% in 2010, world-wide, according to statcounter) – now they seek for somebody to pay their new bills.

  8. Originally posted by Constantine Vesna:

    Why work, if you have sms? $0.10 for each 160 bytes of data, 1.6 megabytes = 1000$, kinda cool

    Plus some processing overhead, of course. But yeah, that's why I tend to prefer to use e-mail on my cellphone when possible. Even with downloading all the subject lines I don't really care to see on my cellphone it costs less than text messaging. When I get a new cellphone I'll get one that has Wi-Fi connectivity so that I won't even have to pay for that in the locations where I am most often. If all this were cheaper (text messaging as well as mobile Internet) I might actually use much more of it on the whole (rather than as a just-in-case solution), meaning more money for my provider from me.Restrictive subscriptions don't help either. If I could upgrade to a higher one for just a few months I might be less likely to seek alternatives like Skype. Instead you'd be stuck to a yearly subscription where you have to take good care to cancel/downgrade sufficiently in advance etc. I never had higher cellphone bills than when I had a EUR3/month student subscription with rates comparable to those of EUR25/month subscriptions. But then I seldom paid more than EUR20/month, usually less.

  9. Bandwidth providers want internet services to pay more for data transfers. So rather than your data bill doubling, your Netflix subscription will become unaffordable. And who would you blame? Why, you would blame Netflix for pricing itself out of the market.One way or the other, network operators have found themselves charging the consumer an unsustainably low price?

  10. Originally posted by hellspork:

    One way or the other, network operators have found themselves charging the consumer an unsustainably low price?

    I thought carriers were some of the most profitable businesses out there?

  11. Originally posted by Chirpie:

    some of the most profitable businesses

    Then why do they keep going bankrupt? There must be something happening behind the scenes.

  12. You could watch "Money as Debt" and "The secret of Oz" on Google Video or Youtube.Those two documentaries will go a long way to explain the monetary system and why it must fail.Happy newyear.

  13. Things are pretty stable at the moment, but there's been plenty of acquisitions. And we're in the middle of a feature-rollout cycle too. That's why prices are going up in the US.

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