Recent remarks from Cap Gemini, quoted in Total Telecom this week seem to suggest that a two-tier internet is an inevitability. This is very much in keeping with other news regarding the end of all-you-can-eat data pricing bundles and differentiated charging policies, so it’s not news per se. But, it’s still unusual to hear the problem articulated in this frank way.
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was full of discussion regarding policies and charging for mobile data users. The motivation behind all of these initiatives is to earn more return from network investments, but the upshot will be that there will actually be a multi-tiered internet, populated by users paying different rates for different levels of access and services. Two-tier is just the beginning!
But, for this to emerge and for service providers to be able to offer packages that deliver on their promises, they must take steps to address visibility of user demands from handsets, dongles and other mobile devices. Without this level of visibility, a multi-tier internet will be flawed and the emerging business models will be shaky at best and, at worst, doomed to failure. It’s one thing to have a multi-tier internet, but even though users will accept different rates of access for different fees, it must be supported by an infrastructure that achieves this fairly. In other words, if users pay for something, they will expect to receive it.