Gartner Says: Mobile Carriers Should Embrace Internet IM
From the “no duh” category, Gartner just released a report that provides a recommendation to carriers about the need for them to embrace the Internet Instant Messaging model. That means, instead of charging a per-message fee like they do with SMS and their “supported” IM methods, it’s either included or available for flat rate. When I IM on my computer, I can’t tell you how many messages I send out. If I had to pay per message, it would discourage me from using IM.
One of the reasons I like EQO is that it enables IM from the handset using Skype. Because it requires you to be running Skype on your PC or Mac, it is a far from ideal solution, but it does work. The big thing here is that the carrier can’t really charge for the message in the manner that EQO operates, though they can and do charge for the kilobyte. While this isn’t a perfect model either, it is well understood and is likely to be much cheaper than the per-message charges that SMS or carrier-sponsored IM incurs.
The bottom line is that the mobile carriers need to realize they just provide a pipe to a larger network. The only leg-up they have over other access methods is that they help enable mobility. Certainly that is a differentiating factor and they can charge for it, but there is a point where you inhibit growth and uptake of services by charging too much. Things are reaching this point and the carriers need to die or adapt to the realities of the market place.