My friends and I were recently chatting about cellular service providers. AT&T seems like it's going to be in control of the next generation of iPhone and we were comparing their plans. The scary thing we find is the nasty tendency to nickel and dime you for all kinds of services that, when you boil them down, are nothing but bits over a wire.
We all know the price of bits people. In the days of the internet, they're extremely cheap. In fact, as Slashdot recently posted, SMS messages cost 4x more than data transferred from the Hubble Space telescope! The only thing I can think of that would be analogous as far as worthless expense goes, is bottled water consumption in America.
Cellular providers are engaged in some pretty nasty anti-competitive business. Yes, we have a couple wins under our belt, (you can at least take your phone number with you when you change providers) but generally, you're still locked into using a provider for a couple years. As a result, when a competitive advantage between providers shifts around it does so at glacial speed.
Here's what I want... Cellular neutrality. I want you to provide me with 2 pipes. One for voice communications, one for data communications. Other than that, you leave me the hell alone. I'll send whatever I want over those two pipes, and you will charge me a fair rate for it.
If a company were to do that, and still give me a device to use on that network like the iPhone, I'd pay a premium.