I tend to spout off about openness in the carrier networks and how I think enough applications would flourish to outweigh the downsides. So it’s always nice to see someone potentially even closer to the problem kick in a very similar set of points with even more supporting details. Check this out:
Almost all cell phones sold in the developed world have the ability to send and receive SMS (short message service) text messages. SMS is gaining popularity in the US, but only as a way to send quick messages to friends. So why aren’t there a wealth of amazing and interactive services available for mobile devices? Why is there no MySpace, Craigslist, Amazon, Flikr, or eBay accessible through this network? Why are cell phone payment systems and email systems nearly nonexistent? Why haven’t charities raised money or awareness of their causes through this system?
It’s simple. Because the cell phone carriers control what services are allowed to use their networks. There is no net neutrality on the cell phone network.
Other requirements are outright offensive: as of this writing, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon all prohibit charities from raising money though their Premium SMS services. Too bad for the United Way, Greenpeace, and the Red Cross.
Some carriers also have “decency” restrictions that are so silly and restrictive that they make the production code that governed movies between 1934 and 1967 seem quaint. Verizon is the worst offender in this case: It prohibits dating services, images that are suggestive (the same images would be acceptable if aired on prime-time network TV), and any use of “crude” words, including such shockers as “fornicate” and “genital.”
I didn’t know about the restrictiveness of a lot of the carrier requirements. It’s like they’re all working from the same “101 Ways to be Evil Overlords” playbook. What’s the deal with Verizon?
Verizon prohibits “un-moderated chatting, flirting and/or peer-to-peer communication services”
Holy Jeebus. Somebody needs a hug.