The iPad, or how to unlock your Internet data from the mobile operator

The iPad, or how to unlock your Internet data from the mobile operator

Apple (not an operator) sells the device, the device is activated through iTunes. For the iPhone, Apple had added a revenue sharing proposition with the operator, and hence operator exclusivity was also part of the initial positioning. The first jailbreak (unlocking the iPhone) made this last part (with all its attached revenues!) fade away. What has Apple learned? That there’s no point in exclusivity deals any longer. So the new iPad will be unlocked. Yes, there is a deal with AT&T, but its just a deal about a new data plan, not an exclusivity deal. The user decides what operator gets access to its iPad. No contract, pre-paid data. The user is locked into the iPad, but unlocked from the operator. This equals to an invitation to real competition on price to the operators. The AT&T deals of $14.99 for 250MB of data is a price killer. $29.99 for unlimited data. This has set a new limit to the value of data transport. This is great for the users, but must be terrible for the operators.

It is also good news for the content distributors and owners, since with cheap(er) access to data, we will for sure consume more content! It will still imply that content distributors will have to find good ways to monetize content, but with this new proposition, Apple directly attacks the access hurdle. As they said on the iPad presentation event, they have 75 million iPhone users. What they did not say is that they are all paying hefty data plans. (all paying hefty data plans). How many users may they have if the mobile Internet becomes cheap?

So, while the discussions about the virtues or non-virtues of the device are nice, they may be missing the crucial point.

Source : http://IESE Technology Blog

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