I sure hope so. Well timed for CTIA is his Free My Phone blog post on the mobile space. Walt wishes for an opening of the US mobile industry.
That’s why I refer to the big cellphone carriers as the “Soviet ministries.” Like the old bureaucracies of communism, they sit athwart the market, breaking the link between the producers of goods and services and the people who use them.
Walt does not, unfortunately, offer any great reasons for mobile operators to change their ways in the short run. After all, they did spend hundreds of millions building expensive networks and have the right to explore and exploit them as they see fit.
Walt’s reference to mobile operators as communist-era bureaucrats makes me think about the painful transition to market economies the Soc block went through. Not sure why any of the pre-transition governments would have signed up for the pain that followed… Wait, they didn’t. The benefits of a market economy in the future couldn’t justify the short-term pain.
China has really been the only country where the pain of not doing something radical–a likely peasant revolt–outweighed the costs of moving towards a more flexible and free economy. The Chinese model for managing the economy may be appealing to mobile operators. It is not a free market jungle but it is also far from central planning. It is a managed ecosystem. Could the threat of consumer revolt prompt mobile operators to move towards more openness?