Cross-Border Mobile Extortion

Huge_item_deadringerIt’s time for MWC, the annual global mobile event that takes place in Barcelona, and we are seeing the usual flow of coverage that praises the innovations around how enhanced mobility is changing our lives.

I am not in Barcelona, but in Berlin, attending a different event.  And the only thing related to mobile that I am reminded of while I am traveling is that I am paying EUR 20 per day for my WiFi connection at the hotel.  If I don’t pay for this, then Turkcell, my mobile provider charges me (link in Turkish) roughly EUR 1 per minute for voice and EUR 4 for 10MB of data.

This is obviously at least an order of magnitude larger than any German customer’s price for mobile usage.  So it’s not cost driven, and is purely a type of extortion to which carrier monopolies have managed to hold on.

As my smartphone becomes a more integral part of my life, the pain caused by this artifical friction increases.  Which tells me this is an area primed for large disruption.