Wednesday, September 12, 2007

P2P Cellphones

This technology looks so promising it hurts. Too bad it'll never take off in North America. Thanks, regulatory capture!
A new way of making calls directly between phones, for free, is being trialled by a Swedish company.

It is hoping to dramatically improve communications in the developing world.

Swedish company TerraNet has developed the idea using peer-to-peer technology that enables users to speak on its handsets without the need for a mobile phone base station.
What? No network needed? But how will we screw people for millions provide quality customer service? No surprise, the cell phones are claiming the technology doesn't work.
"One of the biggest things against us is that the big operators and technology providers are really pushing against us, saying this technology doesn't work and it doesn't have a business model," he said.

"This is fine - just join us in Lund and see how the technology works, and ask our customers how our business model works."
Yeah, the business model is soooo complicated: Make phones. Sell phones for more than it costs to make them. Don't bother customers with bills for the network they aren't using and you didn't need to build.

Like I said. Complicated.

In a perfect world, we'd find much better things to do with the radio spectrum than AM radio and legacy television broadcasts, and this would be one of them. In reality, Rogers, Bell, CTVGlobemedia, Canwest, and Telus would burn Ottawa to the ground if we ever tried something as rational as encouraging this.

1 comment:

Jer said...

Get rid of stations altogether? No.

Reduce the dependence on stations - especially in densely populated areas? Heck yeah! Poke AT&T in they eye - one can only dream...

I can see the big telcos being horrified at this idea - it completely undercuts most of their revenue from cell phone services. But it wouldn't have to stop at being a "voice" network. It reminds me a bit of an idea a while back that I read somewhere for GM - a proposal to build a wireless network by setting up their OnStar system in a similar P2P fashion - where every car was a potential transmitter/receiver node on the network. They'd have one of the largest networks in the country within a few years and could transmit data or voice fairly reliably across it within a decade (shorter if they built some tower infrastructure to extend their coverage). I don't think it ever got off the ground, but building a public network using cell phones as nodes is almost as brilliant.