RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis started blabbering on in an interview about network applications for the Blackberry platform. Was he thankful that developers were creating rich applications for his phones? Was he excited for the future? No. He started horking about “conserving bandwidth,” just like AT&T’s CEO:
“Manufacturers had better start building more efficient applications and more efficient services. There is no real way to get around this.”
“If we don’t start conserving that bandwidth, in the next few years we are going to run into a capacity crunch. You are already experiencing the capacity crunch in the United States.”
“That is pretty fundamental to a carrier as that means you can have three paying Blackberry browsing customers for every one other customer.”
“That has a huge advantage for the carriers if you think about the many billions of dollars the carriers have invested over the last five years in spectrum auctions and infrastructure rollouts.”
While I agree with his sentiment – programmers need to be aware of how much bandwidth they’re sucking down – in practice the idea of “conservation” is ludicrous. We will, in the end, be using cellular networks for almost all of our connectivity. Cable and DSL companies know this and they’re running scared and AT&T already knows this simply because they’ve created a product popular with the kind of nerds carriers hate, nerds who use more than their share of bandwidth.
Carriers seem to think subscribers should be corralled. Not only is this an affront to everything capitalism stands for, it is a grave miscalculation. Carriers make investments based on subscription fees. It’s not like they’re losing money by offering a public service – see the Postal Service – they are making money offering something that the government (read “we”) gave them.
Mobile CEOs: hire evangelists to tell mobile programmers how to conserve bandwidth. Heck, you can even talk about bandwidth conservation at the golf games you have with each other. Do not, however, say those words out loud. It antagonizes your customers and points to a company that is out of touch with the mobile reality.