Quocirca have published a report about why Walled Gardens are bad news for Mobile Networks. This will be good news for my Friends Ajit & Tony who spent the last year writing a book called Open Gardens where they talk about the need to open the network.
The problem it that Tony has discovered that with an Open Portal the mobile network will cut off funds for developers and reduce assistance to small companies looking to create the reason that users would wish to visit a portal. Lets face it the only reason most over the age of 25 have for going online via our phone is to discover the latest news on travel disruptions (I have to say that the past four weeks in London Orange have been excellent at keeping users up to date with events following terror insidents thanks to Sky News.) I am not in the market for new themes or ringtones and hence the traditional mobile data services are of very little interest and I work in the industry!
The real problem with Mobile Portals is that the fact that the device and bandwidth are limited compared to a PC means that the services need to be location and presence based. The ability to deliver such services is limited by the fact that Mobile Network Operators do not wish to give access via SS7 to the network for fear of revenue srinkage (remember the days of Phone cloning where someone was able to "copy" a SIM and run up hugh bills?). Thus what we face at the moment is a situation that the Mobile Operator is in a Catch 22 situation which sees them damded if they do and damed if they don't.
In the past few months speaking to others about mobile data services I have heard stories of Networks reconciling billing using an speadsheet and macros from hell built by temps, content prviders only abile to collect 90p in the £. When you add the "Jamster effect" which sees parent's very un-happy to discover that "junior" has been mugged, you have to ask just why would anyone thing that a mobile phone is for anything more than talking on ;-)