A farewell to roaming

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Good Old Trend

Just a quick thought and another example of The Technical Divide that we’re experiencing. Fring for iPhone was released today. I tried the service in my old Nokia E70 quite some time ago and was not impressed. Full of bugs and bad quality in general. But not any more.

It seems Fring needed the interface of the iPhone for it to click – at least for me. I’ve tried it quickly and it makes perfect sense. Chat and VOIP through wifi. Simple. But the implications of this software is everything but simple. It means that the current business model of roaming abroad for mobile phones is threatened.

The operators charge an absolute fortune for these calls (as I’m sure anyone that pays their own phone bill knows) and it’s been a nice little earner for quite some while. If your phone has the Fring software it means you can phone from the same mobile phone, but for a fraction of that price. This requires some sort of wifi nearby, but in in office environments, where a lot of these expensive calls take place, this is standard stuff.

Software challenges our current business models. Sure – there is a large barrier for people to install software in their phones and getting them to change their behaviour regarding calls. But it can be done, and the thresholds will be lowered. And when they are, roaming as we know it will die. About time too.

(Btw – I’m slightly considering starting a whole new blog that just focuses on The Technical Divide. Would that be interesting? I think Good Old Trend is in for a change soon anyway, so maybe a split would be the right way to go. Feedback plz!)

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