Subscribe to the::unwired's RSS Feedthe::unwired at Twitterthe::unwired on Facebookthe::unwired on Google Plus
the::unwired Article
THOUGHT: Time for GSM Carriers to understand the TCP/IP world and its billing options
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 03.03.03 - 15:03:00 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 5612x
Not Tagged

The 3GSM Congress was two weeks ago and CeBIT will start in two weeks and in Cannes we saw a lot of interesting developments for operators and I'm sure we will see interesting product announcements on CeBIT.

However, I'm still afraid that the GSM carriers still don't understand the Internet world in all its details and I'm not talking about the tech staff (these guys know how to build GSM networks, maintain GGSNs and SGSNs), no - I'm simply talking about the product managers which are responsible for the service and product designs.

I'm sure - now where we come closer to the launch of 3G networks - that we will see some introductions of streaming or download services but guys, please keep your customer in mind. GPRS is still to expensive, everywhere in the world and therefore I propose that you have a closer look how the Internet works.

What I would love to see are flat tariffs or at least bundled MB/GB in dependency to the ports. Ports - what are ports!? Many product managers at GSM carriers have never heard about ports (that's my experiences from the past) and therefore we can not expect innovative billing schemes - I think.

Every Internet service, doesn't matter if it is Web browsing, E-Mail, FTP, Kazaa or what ever, runs on "service" ports like: FTP = 21, Telnet = 23, SMTP = 25, HTTP = 80, POP3 = 110, NNTP = 119, WAP = 9201.

If these ports would be used for billing too, the operator would have the opportunity to bill in more flexible ways then a dumb KB counting as it is used today.

Imagine this scenario of a GPRS tariff: Overall GPRS access would cost 0.05 € per 10 KB (which is O2 Germanys standard fee today for GPRS) but this tariff would include some modifications/additions - bundled volume, depending on the service (port):


  • HTTP: 5 GB

  • POP 3: 4 GB

  • SMTP: 3 GB


This would mean that your tariff would have an included volume of 15 MB but for dedicated service types only like 5 GB for Web access, 4 GB for downloading E-Mails and 3 GB for sending E-Mails. All other services like FTP or even peer to peer file sharing would be billed with 0.05 € right away from the first kilobyte.

This kind of billing would give the operators even more flexibility since they would be able to offer streaming for additional monthly flat fees and so on. The range of what could be possible is so wide, why do we still have dumb counter based tariffs which are equal to voice where another counter is counting the minutes you've talked?

The example above is just one idea how to boost mobile data usage, there are still many other ideas available and I don't want to see innovative product introductions only but even more I want to see innovative billing scenarios.

So why - dear GSM carrier - doesn't we see this kind of tariffs today? Your billing could run this, at least if you would integrate some mediation between your billing and network. We have the services in place now, the handsets we was waiting for a long time (Smartphones as well as Wireless PDAs) becomes available also - so everybody made his homework - finally but where is the innovation from carrier side!?

Cheers ~ Arne

PS: If you are a carrier and want to discuss this kind of scenarios with me, need support or anything else, just drop me a personal note. ;-)

If you are a carrier and would like to explain us why we haven't this kind of intelligent tariffs in place today, please use the comments below.