@ 3GSM: Disney, MTV, Microsoft Want More Reliable Mobile Tariffs

Content creators and service providers have called on mobile networks to offer cheaper, more predictable data tariffs. Pieter Knook, Microsoft’s SVP for mobile and embedded devices, told a 3GSM session: “This is really a call to the industry; we need data plans. Clearly we’re not going to get mass adoption of this kind of technology [without them]. Businesses will go negotiate with operators and say ‘This is what I want’ and will always find an operator that says yes. Consumers don’t have those kind of options; they need simple tariff structures thaat they understand but they don’t exist today.
“Where is the pre-paid data environment? We have a lot of pre-paid voice – it’s very easy in a supermarket – why can’t we buy pre-paid data the same way? We need that if we really want consumers to adopt data applications.”
It’s hardly surprising. The unpredictability factor in whether using particular mobile content services will result in an unexpectedly high bill at the end of the month may put off many consumers and strangle adoption for data-intensive applications. Meanwhile, operators still want to get paid for traffic used.
Sunir Kochhar, VP-operations at Disney Mobile, complained: “With the price platforms being so different, it is very difficult for us to port our applications onto multiple devices.
Gideon Bierer, SVP-digital media, MTV Networks, added: “The way content is priced to a consumer is quite confusing. [We could] move to a simple, standardized pricing around monthly subscriptions, tailored for different segments, including bundles that we see in television, for example.”
In an earlier session, T-Mobile International CEO Hamid Akhavan said: “Pricing has been an issue. I’d like to share the responsibility for pricing as a 50/50 between the operators and the content owners [for music downloads]. He said the value of being able to download a track to a mobile phone did not justify the price increase on doing so over a fixed-line broadband connection to a PC. “Adoption has been a little slower than we thought. “We definitely ned to work on pricing together.”
In a video address this morning, Australian network Telstra said it would be offering 40Mbit/s mobile broadband speeds by 2009. With speeds like that just waiting for new content services, it is clear pricing reform is an issue that won’t go away.