Mobile developers to carriers: Please get out of the way


At the GigaOm Mobilize conference in San Francisco Thursday, a panel of CEOs and consultants seeking to monetize the mobile Internet had a clear message for big carriers: Please get out of the way.

"There are huge numbers of users who desperately want to use mobile but the right data plan is not available yet," says Mark Curtiss, CEO of mobile dating and flirting applications/social network Flirtomatic. Curtiss cited a recent Friday when British telecom Vodafone offered a window of 24-hour free data service to customers. "Registrations went through the roof," says Curtiss.

He acknowledges that free is not a sustainable price for data services but feels there must be a happy medium. Carriers, traditionally, have viewed data services -- namely, mobile Internet services -- as their growing cash cow. For example, AT&T (T) has posted markedly faster growth in its data services revenues, due to the high level of mobile Internet usage by iPhone customers. But that view has also resulted in data packages that can easily double the cost of a monthly wireless bill.