More fear and loathing in telco regulation land
I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, my heart pounding. I can't see it, or hear it, but I can sense it is out there. Lurking. Restless. Ready to pounce.
Text spam - or in its more odious form - txt spm.
A new plague that could, if we are not very careful, infect every mobile device in the country. It feeds on 'bill and keep'. That is, when carriers charge nothing -- zip, zero, nada -- for text messages that are terminated on their networks.
You might think that bill and keep would be nirvana for end users, who have often queried why, if text costs nothing to send over a network, do the carriers charge for it? Why do they lock their customers into on-net deals, so that if they send a text to a friend whose mobile providers isn't the same as theirs, they can pay as much as 20c. Which really adds up for the folk under 25 years old, for whom text is a crucial form of communication.
But Vodafone and TUANZ warn that we are in danger of being deluged by text spam if the Commerce Commission doesn't allow carriers to charge each other a token amount for routing texts.
Mr Hertz, are you worried?
Fry Up put the hard question to 2degress CEO Eric Hertz. "Text spam, should we fear it?"
"I have never really seen that as a problem, but we have ways to control that from a network perspective where we can blacklist if we feel there is a text spamming problem. There are controls we could put in place," Hertz says.
"I think text spamming, where it has been an issue, is in places where there weren't those controls in place."
Good week for Mr Hertz
This week 2degrees announced it would be spending $100 million on what appears to be a pretty decent mobile network. Extending both coverage and 3G speed capability. No word on customer numbers, although he promises he will release some in the next couple of months. So until then the number remains at 206,000 subscribers on the 2degrees network. Hertz also says the fledgling telco is on track to deliver an ROI in six to seven years.
By the way, for those who are following the Rural Broadband Initiative, Hertz says that the form of mobile 4G that OpenGate was proposing was WiMax -- not a technology 2degrees is backing.
"We have made a bet on the 4G and the LTE environment, that is the natural progression for us."
There has been an online comment that Computerworld is becoming Telcoworld
What do they mean?
Meanwhile Fry Up goes live
Check out the Christchurch IT feature -- which is in our February 14 issue and online next week - and, if you are in Christchurch on March 1, stop by the Millennium Hotel for our third Fry Up debate. The moot is: 'South Islanders will be the most innovative when it comes to fast fibre networks.'
Speakers for the negative are Telecommunications Carriers Forum CEO David Stone, REANNZ CEO Donald Clark. Speakers for the affirmative are Jade Software chief innovation officer John Ascroft and Canterbury Development Council CEO Bill Luff.