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Smiling with my mouth closed

6/12/08

Thanksgiving  dinners in London are odd affairs. A bunch of Americans who are uncomfortable about how integrated to be.  But they are a fine opportunity to meet new people.

Like the eco-warrior who had a Sony Ericsson T68. He believes that it’s wrong to throw phones away and what’s wrong with something seven years old? Or the dentist who has just signed her business up for BT Fusion. She spoke at length about how great it was.  She talked about the great deal on the broadband and she talked about how you got your fixed like and mobile all from BT.

And I listened. Partly because I was eating, partly because when you are with a cosmetic dentist you keep your mouth closed as much as possible –you don’t want to be inspected –  but mainly because I wanted to know her views on fixed/mobile convergence.

Expansys HTC Touch Diamond advert

And I kept listening as she talked through tariffs and services but not once did she mention the ability to pick up her landline calls on the mobile.

Eventually I cracked, and I asked her if she knew that her phone did it. She did but didn’t use it. For her the deal was all about good, cheap broadband and mobile tariffs. She didn’t care that she was limited to which handsets she could have, ironically she might have been better off with Virgin Media as that would give her higher speed broadband and she could still have had the combined mobile and broadband tariff.

This is the polar opposite to how the mobile world sees Fusion. Even the name is targeted at the advantage of having one phone, just like the OnePhone of 1999.  We see it as being a great piece of technology that does seamless handoff between fixed and mobile lines, that allows the consumer to have a single handset for both. The consumer doesn’t care about that, they see it as cheap tariffs and a single bill. The hard bit, the really hard technology of HLRs and handover isn’t even interesting.

T-Mobile is trying something similar and Orange in France but seems to have given up trying to sell it in the UK. You have to really hunt to find it on the UK website and even then, like my dentist friend, it doesn’t talk about fixed/mobile convergence. BT has now closed down Fusion – existing subscribers are supported but they are not taking on new ones. A bit of me is impressed that they are prepared to take the risk with Vision and Fusion, but properly thought through they were never good ideas. It wasn’t just at Thanksgiving that it was easy to spot the Turkey.

Cat Keynes publishes her thoughts on the mobile phone industry every Sunday at www.catkeynes.com you can read the column  the previous Friday by subscribing here.

 

Links

Sony Ericsson might be crying into its sushi  and meatballs but thanks to the C905 (and probably the T303) it’s done better than ever for market share, number three in the world and  top dog in the UK.

China mobile is  preparing its own mobile OS. It will be interesting to see how this affects Nokia’s strength in the Chinese market.

I reported on how mobiles on London underground have been pending for over ten years. They are still no nearer, but Glasgow has a system up and running

The battle over mobile search is in the land-grab phase with Yahoo signing up with Virgin Mobile. I still think Nokia will be the winner.

Meanwhile Nokia has trumped my wanting an N85 with the N97. I never wanted the N96 which always seemed a bit lame and now we know why. It has homescreen widgets – Nokia bought the company Widsets a while back.

A quick reminder to donate to the Mobile Industry Review Christmas competition There are some amazing prizes to be won, and its for a good cause so everyone wins. Indeed the mobile industry has been so generous with prizes it looks like you have a really good chance of getting something special from it.

Nokia is building a vision for home control and seems to be asking some sensible questions – it’s been around for decade with the Red Boxes and Orange had a ‘home of the future”. One thing they have got right is building and ecosystem. If you have a domestic automation product you should speak to them.

Kenya leads the way with mobile payments but now Sweden and Norway are trying to steal the crown. It’s WAP billing so I don’t think they have much chance.

If you have no taste, and I mean really no taste at all you might like one of these Crystal phones. But I doubt it

 

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