Telco Dilemma Musing: Should carriers move into banking?

There’s two reasons I ask this, because of the talk about selling laptops that I read about and an experience I had yesterday.

The selling laptops is interesting and broadband providers did it recently so it’s not a new model. TalkTalk and Orange offered either free or extremely cheap laptops if you signed up to their broadband packages for, I think, two years. intomobile‘s thinking is that carriers should subsidise not only handsets but just about any data enabled device to drive data usage.

Subsidising handsets is fine if the voice and data packages aren’t capped as you’ll get substantial revenue from the heavy users. Once the cap comes in, subsidising mobile data devices loses it’s sheen quickly as all costs to the users are capped and so is the carriers income for those product.

So I can’t see carriers moving into the adjacent market of high tech goods retailing just yet, even with the buying power of the carriers.

Moving into banking maybe a little too ambitious, what I actually mean is payments. With the Telco Dilemma series it’s becoming clear that looking at adjacent markets is one for the carriers to grow revenue. This Telco2.0 post indicates that Services as an adjacent market is growing, but payment is failing to gain any traction.

Key trend: Beyond IT services, nothing else does – entertainment, healthcare, education, mobile payments, e-commerce all fail to gain significant traction as stand-alone lines of business

I’m struggling to understand why payments aren’t taking off, why is there such reluctance, does someone else have a strangle hold on this area of business and not interested in playing, the banks maybe? My experience yesterday morning was as I do when I’m at home, is leave the house around 8am with the girls taking them to nursery. On the trip home I decided to call into Sainsbury’s and pickup some more coffee. Now most mornings like millions of people I leave the house with my keys and my phone, I can get back in or I can call for help, but I left my wallet on the shelf.

So I walk around the store pick up the coffee and some fresh bread and walk to the checkout, when I realise I don’t have my wallet. But I have my phone, I can pay for ringtones with my phone, via SMS, I can donate to charity via SMS, why can’t I pay for my coffee via SMS?

This payment method could be used in just about any situation, Starbucks, text your order, pay, get text when it’s ready for collection. The carries who provide the network infrastructure take a tiny cut, that’s a tiny cut of every single business transaction that takes place, don’t forget the revenue for the SMS too.

Your mobile phone bill will look a lot like your credit card bill and then we move into interest on balance if you don’t want or can’t pay for all your purchases in one go, looks like banking to me and I want the convenience it brings. You can delve into this model in a lot more detail, the security is there for example, pin numbers in the SMS, but we’ll stop there.

Twitter Updates for 2008-03-12

  • Beer up by 4p a pint, wine 14p a bottle, spirits 55p a bottle and cider 3p a litre by Sunday. 4p a whole 4p it’s a scandal! #
  • c’mon you Spurs! 1-1 on agg now! #
  • @jezlyn are you happy with the n810 then? #
  • @jezlyn i use my n800 everyday not sure if it’s worth upgarding to the n810 though #
  • @jezlyn cool, did you have an n800 as well then? i’ve got an i-go bt kb too #
  • found out today I’ve got a stag do to attend in july sometime! #
  • @jezlyn yep that kb is very neat as is the whole device! #

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Whatleydude’s Joy of Ku

Over on SMS Text News guest blogger James Whatley or Whatleydude to his adoring fans has posted on his “Joy of Ku”. This being his love for Jaiku.

First off – without presuming too much – a brief explanation:

What is Jaiku?

* Micro-blogging (like twitter)
* Limited to 140 characters (like Twitter) to your first ‘Jaiku’
* Jaikus start threaded conversations (unlike Twitter) with no character limit (unlike Twitter)
* Jaiku also enables ‘Presence’ from your S60 handset: Location + Phone Profile + Latest Jaiku
* Jaiku as a feed aggregator – pulling in all your feeds into one single ‘life stream’
* An ‘active’ contacts book, when futurists debate the address book as being key to any user’s daily life, Jaiku is often looked upon as leading the way
* And above all, a community…

There is a link in there to the Jaiku Invites site, as Jaiku is invite only at the moment.

My comments on Jaiku v Twitter as they are the two often compared is that Twitter is where the big names are and it’s a micro-blogging tool, you get the odd response to your posts. Jaiku on the other hand is a micro-blogging tool but you post and lot’s of people comment, the conversations are bigger on Jaiku.

So if you want you want to micro-blog take your pick, if you want to have conversations then get yourself an invite to Jaiku. I confess to using both as they each offer something ever so slightly different to each other, but if I didn’t like Jaiku I wouldn’t have written this post.

This is me on jaiku and twitter, add me if you want and start a conversation.

Twitter Updates for 2008-03-11

  • @mbites WIll Harris’ channelflip, does that count? #
  • @mbites ok, TelecomTV tech/telco business focus not consumer #
  • @Whatleydude can’t remember..not much use really is it as for singles, 20 years ago #
  • installing Firefox beta .none of my plug-ins work 😦 #
  • Firefox 3 beta 4 loads damn fast yeah! #
  • I can’t install live writer on my locked down work notebook so giving Qumana a try.any other offline blog editors of note? #
  • @jamiei re the WebDev toolbar, sorry no idea..but FF is now really quick…hope the toolbar turns up soon for you! #
  • something is up with my blog hsoting..can’t post from online and offline tool doesn’t work either..hmm #

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Firefox 3 beta 4 is a big improvement

Just testing out Qumana offline blog posting tool and installing the new beta of FF has given me the reason to post.

The new beta of FF is really quick, it launches quickly, opens pages quickly that’s a big improvement on the old version.

There are some other subtle differences, Home has moved to the bookmarks toolbar, which is OK with me. The nice touch I like is the drop down address bar and the more detail of the webpages visited, that’s so much nicer now.

All in all it’s a huge improvement and the full i.e. non beta version will be installed on our home system as soon as it’s available.

Firefox 3 beta 4 is a huge thumbs up!