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What's Wrong With Big Dumb Pipes?

6:00 PM -- Does anyone really like their phone company? Cable provider? Cellular operator? I really doubt it. Just how did these guys come to be so hated? Could it be their ridiculous pricing plans, poor customer service, or generally bad performance -- dropped calls, no service, etc?

Yep, all of the above. But one thing that really irks me is how they want to get into the content business. It's kind of like UPS only delivering stuff they sell, or demanding a cut of the value of what they ship.

I think the best solution to the problem is to separate church and state. Carriers should be restricted from providing content, except through a subsidiary that sells over the network like any other customer of the carrier. In short, carriers should be required to move any bits presented to them for such movement, without prejudice or favoritism.

I'll bet there's a First Amendment argument in there somewhere against this. But I would also suggest that successful companies are those that only do what they know how to do, and leave everything else to others -- their customers in many cases. Someone, after all, needs to own and operate the big dumb pipe. It's not glamorous, but it can be very, very profitable.

Just my two cents. [Ed. note: For $0.98 you can download this catchy ringtone!]

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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