posted By ] Lawrence Latif
Vodafone made the bold statement after funding a report that was co-authored by itself and the World Wide Web Foundation, which said that in emerging markets, such as India, mobile phones will become the primary devices to access the internet. The report also claimed that social notworking websites will be used to deliver local content to users.
Deployment of fibre optic networks, according to Vodafone, is a significant investment that is “unsustainable given the cost of deployment in rural areas“. Since Vodafone flogs wireless data services, there’s no surprise that the firm said greater emphasis should be placed on increasing content which in turn will cause demand for data services to increase and result in “increasing business opportunities”.
Vodafone’s survey looked at three Indian states to compare the feasibility of installing fibre compared to wireless networks. Its investigation found that installing fibre would be commercially viable in only three per cent of the districts whereas wireless networks were commercially viable in 98 per cent of the districts.
With Ofcom preparing for UK’s ’4G’ auction next year, Vodafone made an early bid to try to grease the wheels by applying pressure on regulators to make it easier for telecoms operators to get into the 4G game. It said, “Regulators should focus on consumer welfare when making spectrum available for service providers as the availability of spectrum will drive technology innovations and better coverage for the growing demand for mobile broadband services. Tapping spectrum as a source of short-term government revenue costs the economy billions more in lost economic value.”
It has long been known that high bandwidth wireless technologies such as WiMax would significantly lower the cost of delivering internet access in rural areas and in developing nations. However as Vodafone’s report points out, mobile operators have been bitten once already by bidding insane amounts of money to obtain 3G licenses and now they want to ensure that whatever money they do spend, they can recoup.
Vodafone’s report was never going to suggest increasing prices or lowering data usage caps, instead it did something more subversive, recommend governments promote greater dependence on data intensive web services.
It all makes you wonder who’s scratching who’s back.