Interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian Online section about 3G’s slow eventual rollout now beginning.
I have some serious doubts about the whole thing, and the amount of money everyone spent. On the one hand I certainly don’t want the Treasury paying any of that money back – if I go mad at a Bargain Hunt antiques auction, I won’t get much sympathy for getting carried away in the heat of the moment. On the other hand, someone’s going to have to foot the bill for all this, and that must surely mean the consumer.
Now I’d love to be proven wrong, but I just can’t see consumers really going for it that much. The phone companies are all desperately trying to increase their revenues, but I firmly believe that there’s a maximum amount of cash consumers are prepared to spend on all their communication/entertainment needs. And in that I include, ISP subscriptions, Satellite/Cable costs, video/dvd spending, mobile phone bills, and video games. The only way one can increase their spend is for another to get less. So 3 who have Premiership football rights, have to really get us to spend less on our Sky Sports subs if we’re to pay for video downloads. I admit that I want to see Arsenal’s goals on a Saturday/Sunday/whenever, but with ITV’s The Premiership, Sky Sports News, BBC News footage and the like, I can easily get to see the goals. I’m not going to pay extra to see jerky video on a 2″x3″ screen.
I’ll leave aside all the technical issues of whether the system actually works, but there’s the cost of the phones, the poor battery life at the moment, the lack of 3G coverage and so on.
Mobiles are a fashion accessory now, but the real function is to carry speech, and they do this now, very successfully. I’d hate to be seen as a doomsayer who couldn’t see why television and the railways would take off, when there was no “demand” for them before. But I genuinely don’t think that beyond a few alert services etc. and some fun in sending photos (both currently doable with 2/2.5G phones), there’s not a whole lot more to needed. Video phones? Limited. Now prove me wrong!