July 8, 2007

Gmail - Circuits: Are U.S. Cellphone Carriers Calcified?

Circuits: Are U.S. Cellphone Carriers Calcified?

David Pogue nails the gap between American cell carriers and those i the rest of the world. He clearly states the real story behind the revolution that Apple's iPhone may have created:

As you can imagine, the iPhone was a primary conversation topic at this conference. Lots of grudging admiration and amazement at what Apple pulled off.

Not just technologically, either. The biggest impact of the iPhone may be the way Steve Jobs managed to change the phone maker/cell carrier relationship for the first time in years. "We'll give you an exclusive," Apple told AT&T, "and you'll let us do whatever we like. We're going to handle the billing. We're going to take the signup process out of your stores and let people do it at home. You're going to redesign your network so that it works with our visual voicemail system." And so on.

Stan Sigman, president and chief executive for wireless at AT&T, is on record as saying that he had no idea what Apple's phone would be like when he agreed to this-a deal that would have been unthinkable in the pre-Jobs era.

If the iPhone becomes a hit, then, it could wind up loosening the carriers' stranglehold on innovation. Maybe phone makers' imaginations will at last be unleashed, and a thousand iPhone-like breakthroughs might bloom.
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