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Thursday, January 26, 2006

We're all subsidising the truly-mobile users.....

Spent today at the FMC Congress in London. A fascinating pitch from Swisscom mentioned the fact that their average mobile customer generates 70% of their calls (and revenue) from just 3 network cells. I'd guess that one at home, one at work/school, and presumably another one at their local pub / shop / town centre.

This highlights an increasing issue I see in cellular - all the really "clever" (and expensive) bits of the network, like cell-to-cell handover for example, aren't actually used that much.

Essentially, the 90% of people using their mobiles on the sofa at home are subsidising the 10% who are actually driving down the motorway or sitting on a train.

And given that at another conference last week, I found out that up to 20% of a 3G phone's sales price goes in patent royalties, I wonder just how much of that costly IPR only gets used once in a blue moon. Never mind patents being based on "how important they are to a standard", how about pricing them on "how often they're actually used".....

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