The Latest Threat To Mobile Carriers: The Internet

“This year’s rollout of mid-priced cell phones that can make calls both over conventional mobile networks and over the Internet, using Wi-Fi wireless connections, will be good news for callers who want lower mobile phone bills…It could be bad news, however, for mobile phone companies, which will lose revenue if people do more of their calling over inexpensive Internet broadband networks — which they can do at home or at the office with Wi-Fi…This year, all major handset vendors will start selling these dual-mode “cell-fi” mobile phones”.
Everyone focuses on VoIP when talking about Wi-Fi enabled phones, but I don’t think that’s going to be the big issue. For the immediate future the VoIP systems still have some quality issues compared with the voice calls over the mobile network, and the cost of voice calls and messaging is on a downward trend anyway.
Where Wi-Fi will have a big effect is in mobile content. It will allow people to view high-bandwidth mobile content without prohibitive bandwidth charges, which is obviously good for mobile content developers. It’s also good for operators, since people will get used to using mobile content on their phones — and will be more willing to pay the extra few bucks when for it when they don’t have Wi-Fi access.
Perhaps this is why Samsung has received an order for Wi-Fi enabled handsets from a major US telecoms carrier.
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