Saturday, January 28, 2006

Killer App for 3G found in Vienna (HSDPA Cards) 

At the same time the FTTH Council Europe was meeting in Vienna, the Austrian Regulator is in Singapore explaining James Seng the broadband world and the killer application for 3G ;-)

For several years, people in the telecom industry has been working over this question: "What's the Killer App for 3G?". Over the years, numerous applications has been tout as the killer app, the most famous one being "Video Call", a standing joke in the industry that everyone will try to do but no one in the right mind actually believe it will actually take off.1

Then comes the "Content is King" crowd with 3G = Girls, Games and Gambling. To be exact, they have some sort of success here. Porns drive the world around so TV streaming become popular with it. Even some non-porns content sell well like Big Bro on 3G mobile which allows you to access the other 6 camera anytime.

These are well reflected in the Singtel 3G and Starhub 3G offerings : 3G TV, 3G Video Call etc. (minus the porns :-)

But today, while having lunch with Georg Serentschy (he was in town for a day), he shared with me an interesting story: Austria just completed their 3.5G HSDPA roll out and one of the hottest things in town was the HSDPA PCMICA card. In fact, 50,000 was sold over the christmas period. So perhaps, the Killer Apps for 3G maybe just as simple as data?

Okay, 'sold' was probably a wrong word as these cards are actually given for free (or for very little cost) with 18 months contract. This is a sharp contrast to the PCMCIA card we can get in Singapore that cost S$1088 (haha, sure :-)...or get from auction one for S$800..and those arent even HSDPA.

Maybe when HSDPA come to Singapore (erm when?), the operator will figure it out by then. You can bet I will be the first to sign up (if the pricing make sense :-)2

1 People arent used to seeing each another while making phone calls yet. Once the user mindset is ready for it, it will take off ... just not now.

2 No, I am not on 3G yet. The pricing plans in Singapore still does not make any sense. Why pay nearly 2x as much as my current broadband and get 1/2 the speed?

I fully agree with James regarding video calls.

I only ask myself, who will need HSPDA in Vienna if all households are connected via FTTH (and have WiFi). As an add-on if I am sitting in the Park in Vienna? If I currently leave the town and sit in Mühlviertel, I am back to good, old and slow GPRS.

Only joking: yes, that is all what I need from a mobile provider: fast access to the Internet while on the road. I do not need any additional services, I have them already on the Internet.

I do not need IMS, and walled gardens, bottle necks and somebody eplaining to me what is good for me and what not.

So schauts aus.

If WiMax can do 1-2Mbps in an 8km radius from a base station, on public spectrum, then that would supply about 95% of my needs. I tend not to go beyond 8km from my home unless I am on a business trip or a holiday!
If I am ok with not having access while actually moving, then 802.16-2004 is sufficient and is here now.
I think that is where the WiMax value proposition scores, you can have broadband at the same as DSL speed, but you can also use your subscription in the local market, school, bar or cafe. Imagine if your DECT phone had an 8km radius!
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