Calling a wireless operator a “dumb pipe” elicits the same sort of reaction from corporate executives that you’d expect if you started insulting the mother of a wide shouldered African American male who has done several years in the joint. What exactly is a “dumb pipe” anyway? Think of the company that provides you with electricity or better yet the guys who make sure that water comes out of your shower head. You may or may not know the name of each of those respective companies, they sure as hell don’t spend a lot of money advertising, and they couldn’t care less about what devices you plug into your electrical sockets or what fancy toilet seat you sit on every morning. They’re dumb pipes. Now those of us who have been buying unlocked handsets for most of our lives, even going so far as to import several European or Asian only models, typically view operators in much the same way. We simply want to pay for a SIM card that gives us the best mix of coverage, data speed, and price.
When you think about why your wireless bill is so damn high, consider that part of what you pay AT&T or Verizon or whoever goes towards a massive marketing budget, a huge one off payment that lets operators buy devices in bulk from handset makers, a team of developers that then fills said devices up with bullshit software, and of course the weekly salary of the high school graduate who hustles you with high pressure sales tactics at many of the countless retail stores all around the country.
LightSquared doesn’t want to be like operators that have come before. At the Open Mobile Summit last week Sanjiv Ahuja (pictured above), the CEO of LightSquared, said:
“I want no intelligence in our network. I want intelligence provided by our partners. We are an absolute utility.”
Here’s hoping they get the nod from the FCC to actually build out their network, because right now they’re getting a lot of push back from the GPS industry.