Monday, December 04, 2006

The reviews on Hutchison 3G - 3 UK X-Series are coming in...

Well, as you may know, I have repeatedly said I was bullish on Hutchison Whampoa 0013, because of the new flat rate-mobile-unlimited web browing package "X-Series " that is going to be launched by 3. And think of this as an analyst trading update.

Of course, there were many questions that remained to be answered since when I first shown my enthusiasm back on the 22th of November 2006.

Question 1.


Concern: If priced high to avoid the traditional Old telcos fear of cannabilization, then it is pretty much doomed to fail.

Well, pricing is clear. It is low. Lower than expectations (expectations here, humble pie here).

And from the anecdotal evidence (here), the pricing is highly attractive. Also, this flat rate pricing is the admission by telcos, that bandwidth is no longer the "scarce resource" that needs conserving. Non time intensive requirement to understand the phone bill (a simple "XXM per sec transmission per X$" plan), or perhaps a customer's peace of mind will be the driving consideration. Perhaps this will indeed be in the immediate future.

Question 2.

Hidden restrictions?

Concern: Old telcos are well known to have an affinity to well... totally rip off their customers... It was like their mission statement was "Piss off Customers. As much as I can. Let them Hate us." or more succintly, "Hate = Success"

There are fine prints. 3, after all is a telco. But... the fine print seems acceptable. Browsing or web browser abled functions only, therefore internet functions such as FTP (transferring files) is off limits. I guess Bittorrent is officially off the table hahaha, and therefore so is the potential tagline for X-Series "Leech. Peer. Seed."

But what I loved about the fine print is this. 3 UK never specified how they will penalize users that goes above and beyond the usage limits (1G data transferred, 5000 mins on Skype Etc.) They merely say that they will "contact you" if you go over the limit?

Contact? CONTACT? What does that mean?

They will send over a social worker-esque representative to help you solve your internet addiction problems?

They will send over Chinatown's finest triads goons, to cause some permanent "reminder" on your knees about the dangers of going over limit?

An SMS telling you that going over the limit is "Not Fair, Not Nice"?

Just thinking about that gave me a good 2 minutes chortle.

Anyhow, As X-Series limits the software and hardware you can use, there are still alot of downloadabled software that people wants to use on their phones that cannot be used on X-Series, and it is causing a little missed expectations syndrome.

Mobile operators should seriously consider opening the platform, completely. Let users think of ways to use their bandwidth. You say they will have 3.6M per seconds, well, then let them have it and use it as they see fit.

Hardware too... Open it up. Let the user decide if they want cameras on their phones. Maybe I just want to surf the web and watch youtube when I ride the train. The inability to provide organic customization. That perhaps is the greatest downfall of phones... Perhaps someday we will see coin sized "antenneas/central processing unit" that has many USB ports for other functions to be plugged in to form a phone. Will that day come I wonder?