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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Not in my mobile world...

Spending over a decade in time in real time communication services, at some point in early stage of my career even working for a mobile operator, I realized about some things I never had or barely did:
  • never had a contract with a mobile operator - no monthly subscription fee, only prepaid. In late nineties I got first cell phony while still being at studies. To get a contract, one had to provide a lot of documents to guarantee for paying the bills. Going for prepaid was easier, but of course more expensive per minute. Once I got closer to the industry and understood the risks of over-charging, specially for people that travel a lot, spending many weeks a year on roaming, contracts were no longer attractive. I started with email before cell phone, I am still an email centric communication guy. Also, my business is mainly about IP telephony, when traveling I prefer to pay for one hour of WiFi access where I can call VoIP but also check the emails. Today I have three active seems always around me (one just for 3G data plan), none under contract. And no bill shock can happen, although I spend substantial time on roaming.
  • never sent a MMS - probably the most useless feature I ever seen on mobile services. Introduced before the era of popular big screen smartphones, sending a picture that couldn't be actually seen meant simply just paying for stupidity. I was never more than few hours far from an internet connection, there are better ways to share a moment with images
  • never bought subsidized smartphones - even in most cases they are bound to monthly contracts, there are more expensive options for what is called here 'branded phones with sim lock'. Practically, you cannot use other mobile networks and the phone is pre-installed with that specific mobile operator apps. The difference of few tens of Euros comparing with standard price was never appealing when the device costs anyhow several hundreds. Traveling frequently results in a quite big stock of international SIM cards, ability to use any of them is a real value for a phone
  • never used call forwarding - this is it, if the call was for me, it's me or nobody answering
Among services I barely use:
  • voicebox - I try to disable the service whenever possible, although many times the operators makes it impossible or reactivate the service periodically for what so ever unknown services. As it may not be convenient calling back to voicebox service (could happen again because of traveling), better not have messages that people consider as delivered. Calls are for real time interaction, if not available, use email or SMS for short description of the matter
  • directory or info desk services - locating a restaurant nearby or other place is much easier using the Internet. If I'm going to be premium charged for a call, again I rather pay for internet access on public WiFi hotspots.
That leaves pretty much voice and sms, both used quite rare lately, more and more rarer! Why? Because mobile operators add new features too late on the market, when already another IP-based service is very popular for offering same features. It is hard to change habits then.

Hopefully at some point we will see true innovation from mobile operators, till then Internet rocks!

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