Random thought...

AEJim

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Whilst travelling and being hassled by lack of network, data charges etc it came to me that some giant company, and I'm thinking Apple here, should basically use their immense worth and really lock it all down.

Apple are pushing all this online "Cloud" thing to everyone and are becoming more and more a mobile device company, with iOS 5 this is really going full steam ahead. Now they have billions of dollars in the bank, cash, not make-believe worth - it strikes me that the limiting factor with all their new devices are the networks on which they are used and associated charges/data limits. Maybe it's time they started branching out into the network market?

They could basically buy out a few of the world network players and, for a premium charge offer unlimited access worldwide, removing all these download limits and roaming issues. It could be expensive, people pay for convenience - if Apple were to offer me unlimited internet/phone use anywhere in the world for £100 per month I'd happily pay it.

There are many hurdles I'm sure, competition laws, country specific issues etc but I'd imagine they'd be able to buy out 3 companies (they wouldn't have to be the biggest ones, just have the coverage) and cover most of Europe/North America and Asia without problem. This may all be far too expensive of course and there could be many things I haven't considered but does anyone else think this would be a logical step?
 

The_Lhc

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I'd rather they didn't, I don't like the idea of any one company controlling all my access. Besides "a few billion dollars" isn't anywhere near enough to buy up all the networks in the US, never mind anywhere else.

£100/month? Get you, wish I could afford that, this is exactly the sort of two-tier internet that most people are fighting to prevent. Access for those that can afford it, the rest of you scum can wait a couple of hours for your email...
 

brendonw

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The_Lhc said:
I'd rather they didn't, I don't like the idea of any one company controlling all my access. Besides "a few billion dollars" isn't anywhere near enough to buy up all the networks in the US, never mind anywhere else.

£100/month? Get you, wish I could afford that, this is exactly the sort of two-tier internet that most people are fighting to prevent. Access for those that can afford it, the rest of you scum can wait a couple of hours for your email...
Your anti-everything-apple stance is getting a bit boring............
 

AEJim

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Well they've got somewhere around $70 Billion in cash, more than pretty much any other company save perhaps the big Oil companies. That's a lot of buying power without even dipping into loans.

Would you really consider £100 per month much with everything tied in? I get a great deal and pay £20 for home phone and internet package (with the usual "fair usage" limits - which online storage, when it fully kicks in may well start to push), I pay £37 separately for my mobile. Already this is £57 and as you'll have no doubt noticed all phone data limits are starting to come in at 500meg where they were previously unlimited - as usual it's free until people start using it then the greedy accounts departments take note.

I was stuck in Russia during the volcanic ash saga - the total phone bill I had for the trip home (used for booking tickets, contacting family, sat nav etc) was £560 for the month. My proposed idea would have saved me £460 that month alone.

For people who travel a lot, which is more and more frequent in the modern world, the roaming charges are a killer unless you're on a work account - even then they won't take kindly to frivilous usage. Even the cost of sending texts, pictures or having conversations with people abroad gets drastically expensive. This would take care of all that.

I totally get the eggs-in-one-basket argument though - I already have reservations about the "Cloud" and renting rather than ownership of files, online storage etc. What happens if you fall out with that company for some reason - miss a payment and they could hold you to ransom. Thing is it seems this is going to be the future whether we like it or not.

I think competition is a good thing - if one company would offer all this it would push the others to follow suit rather than keep charging us extortionate amounts if we happen to travel.

*Oh, and I wasn't suggesting they buy all the networks - merely take over one with good coverage in the US, one in Europe, one in Asia etc, would be very hard to cover everywhere but that could be a long term goal - start out with the main wealthy markets and go from there.
 

Lee H

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I'm failing to see how that is even remotely anti Apple. All that he said is that too much control in the hands of one company is a bad thing - which it is
 

The_Lhc

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brendonw said:
The_Lhc said:
I'd rather they didn't, I don't like the idea of any one company controlling all my access. Besides "a few billion dollars" isn't anywhere near enough to buy up all the networks in the US, never mind anywhere else.

£100/month? Get you, wish I could afford that, this is exactly the sort of two-tier internet that most people are fighting to prevent. Access for those that can afford it, the rest of you scum can wait a couple of hours for your email...
Your anti-everything-apple stance is getting a bit boring............

The_Lhc said:
I'd rather they didn't, I don't like the idea of ANY one company controlling all my access.

I never mentioned Apple.
 

AEJim

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Lee H said:
I'm failing to see how that is even remotely anti Apple. All that he said is that too much control in the hands of one company is a bad thing - which it is

I still think if one provider (whoever it is) stepped in to offer this "global service" it would prompt the others to have to follow suit, which would be better for us as consumers than the current state of being held to ransom with extortionate charges if we leave our home countries. The data limits everyone is starting to put in place will also start to hamper usage as more gets stored online.
 

hammill

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Lee H said:
I'm failing to see how that is even remotely anti Apple. All that he said is that too much control in the hands of one company is a bad thing - which it is
Precisely. Monopolies are very dangerous. I don't think that any company would get such a deal past the regulators in the US - they broke up Bell after all.
 

chebby

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hammill said:
Precisely. Monopolies are very dangerous. I don't think that any company would get such a deal past the regulators in the US - they broke up Bell after all.

Old history.

They have spent the time since then re-acquiring virtually all of their previously split-up companies under the AT&T banner.
 

Lee H

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Hi Jim,

in my personal view, as more and more services go on to use data, (think VOiP for example) minutes and texts as we know it will become less relevant. The issue for networks (whoever owns them) is then one of capacity. In any network where capacity is at a premium, a charging model usually develops to enourage or discourage certain behaviours. You may find that low bandwith activities such as email become free, but streaming attracts a premium.

In the potential Apple model above, if every subscriber said, "yes, I'll have a piece of that" Apple have a problem. They now have an oversubcribed proposition that is at capacity. They will also struggle to monetise that customer base further as their opening gambit is "all you can eat, wherever you are". Shareholders then see that as a poor investment as there is no opportunity for growth. The network that is being roamed on by Apple customers is also seeing its capacity reduced by these overseas customers coming in. To support upgrades to their infrastructure, they then increase the inter-connect cost charged to Apple (the price of Apple accessing their network). Now, not only do Apple have a proposition that they can't make anymore money from, it's actually starting to cost them money. Still at capacity, network quality begins to degrade and with it, Apple's reputation.

Eventually, the EU will come along and say, "You can't charge £100. We're going to regulate you down from that."
 

The_Lhc

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AEJim said:
Lee H said:
I'm failing to see how that is even remotely anti Apple. All that he said is that too much control in the hands of one company is a bad thing - which it is

I still think if one provider (whoever it is) stepped in to offer this "global service" it would prompt the others to have to follow suit,

But your original idea was for one company to buy up ALL the network providers. Where does that leave any potential competitor? With nowhere to go.

which would be better for us as consumers than the current state of being held to ransom with extortionate charges if we leave our home countries.

Well, the EU appears to be attempting to do something about that, within Europe at least.

The data limits everyone is starting to put in place will also start to hamper usage as more gets stored online.

Data limits are only there to prevent congestion, as faster technologies come on stream they will become an irrelevance. The current issue is because storage is becoming cheaper and larger faster than network bandwidth can keep up. Once that situation balances out a bit better data limits won't have any function. There are still some mobile networks offering unlimited tariffs, 3 does I think.
 

Paul.

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I agree with Lee. On the web, contect is king, and via iTunes and Appstore Apple have these markets. The networks are just a delivery channel for the content, and the more content volume increases, the less margin the networks will make. The networks will struggle to expand infrastructure to keep up with the data usage required by smartphone users, eeking in to proffit. More and more, their high margin products like SMS and MMS are getting crushed by the likes of facebook, and rolled in to data alowance. Apple would have nothing to gain by joining the market, as all they want to do is shift hardwear.

Google however need to own the internet to maintain their ad revenue. I seem to remember a while ago in the US Google were bidding on some wireless spectrum freed up by old TV networks that could be used in the future for internet. Google are far more likely to fill Jims needs.
 

AEJim

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Paul Hobbs said:
Google however need to own the internet to maintain their ad revenue. I seem to remember a while ago in the US Google were bidding on some wireless spectrum freed up by old TV networks that could be used in the future for internet. Google are far more likely to fill Jims needs.

Yes, I wouldn't mind who could offer this kind of service, it's just such a mess trying to travel and use mobile data/phone services at present. The competition would be a good thing, not a negative, as it is now all network providers offer similar services for similar costs, the "competition" aspect is minimal.

Bandwidth would be a concern as Lee mentioned as well, but if these big companies want us to store all our data online then it's partly their responsibility to make it accessable, again pushing the technology limitations being a good thing to move the world forward. You could still limit bandwidth in areas where infrastucture is less capable, just not having a limit on the amount of data you're allowed to access (the length of time doing so would be naturally self-limiting in usage - you wouldn't try streaming films at 5kbps for example but could wait 15 minutes for a document you may need).

*LHC - again I wasn't suggesting anyone buys ALL the network companies, just one with good coverage in each particular territory. Buying Vodaphone, China mobile or AT&T would be very expensive but buying a far smaller provider (turnover-wise) may make sense.
 

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