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If The US Carriers Were More Like The Rest Of The World- OpEd

So I gotta tell you, coming off the Sprint event last night I was thinking most of the night how to say some things about the event without rocking the boat or hurting anyones feelings. You know as tech journalists, knowledge is first but relationships are an easy second.  Here’s what I can tell you..

– I personally like Sprint.  I think Dan Hesse is an amazing CEO, he has really turned the company around by focusing on the customer, and then his partners in the ecosystem from content providers to OS providers and of course journalists.  He is very approachable (when he sticks around) and when you speak with him it’s like talking to your neighbor Bob.

– The Sprint PR Team is very active in the social networking arena and very helpful as are most.

As a company, Sprins strengths are they rolled out wiMax first and were pioneers of 4G in the US, in fact so much so that the ITU caved and called WiMax and HSPA+ “4g” at the same time.  They have two really cool 4G Android handsets and have always been a solid number 3.  They have some great stuff coming down the line in 2011.  They also know they’d need a ton more spectrum and a lot more pops to move out of the #3 position. And I am very impressed at how their 4G is holding up compared to some others.

But back to the topic at hand.

So we get this cool invitation, Dan Hesse, David Blaine are Making the Impossible Possible.  Leaving the event I thought I may pen this piece “Shouldn’t the Manufacturers Throw These Events?” Samsung does it, and in fact we are going to one this weekend.

Why? I’ll tell you why, did the Kyocera Echo really make the impossible possible? No! Was it the best new phone coming to Sprint? No! Was it a complete and utter waste of time? No! See Sprint has had similar events for much better products, like the HTC Evo 4G (remember Prince of Persia).

Now on Kyocera’s side, was it the best phone Kyocera has put out since they released the first ever smartphone in 2000 in the US? Absolutely yes.  Is it the best Android device Kyocera has released in the world? Yes! Would non-NY  based tech journalists come to the event if it was put on by Kyocera? Yes. However an event like that (and we’ve been to some 70+ events since even just Android came out) coming from Kyocera instead of Sprint, a lot more people would have left saying WOW.  (check out our wrap up post from last night)

Then in reading my RSS feeds it struck me..

Most every phone in overseas comes out of the gate on multiple carriers, even the coveted iPhone.  In reading about both the Sony Xperia Play and the LG Optimus Pad, multiple carriers are getting the device, at LAUNCH.

If multiple carriers supported a device at launch everything would launch the same day, all the updates would happen at the same time (Hello Samsung Galaxy S) and manufacturers, not carriers would hold these events. Sure they’d have their exclusive flagship phones and still hold events for that but not every device is a flagship phone.

Was the Kyocera Echo Sprint’s 2011 flagship phone? No not a chance like I said above it’s 2 screens worth of win for Kyocera but not for Sprint, if it released on multiple carriers at the same time it would be even more win for Kyocera.

There are countless other ways that the American Wireless Industry could benefit from being more like the rest of the world but we don’t have time for all that right now…


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  1. The carriers in the US are much better businesses than in Europe – they have true market power in addition to scale and use it to get proprietary access to phones. That’s business. Euro carriers are weaker and are under serious threats from Android and OEMs.

  2. I didn’t realize that the Sony Xperia Play and the LG Optimus were being launched on multiple carriers at launch. Would Sprint fall into that category as well? What else do you see coming down the line? Do you see the Palm tablet coming to Sprint? How about EVO 2?

    I had heard rumors about a restructuring of the Sprint pricing plan to have it where if you have unlimited data, it would cover any tablets you had as well, so you wouldn’t have to get an additional data plan for a tablet. Do you see this happening?

    I really want to see Sprint succeed but damn – the product last night looked half-finished. I mean, the Echo didn’t even have Froyo on it for crying out loud and it is a new product.

  3. You’re absolutely right but unfortunately all US carriers are running at different frequencies unlike our European counterparts. For a multi-carrier release to happen in the US, manufacturers would have to make multiple versions of their devices.

    Hopefully the chip sets will become cheap enough that it becomes economical in the manufacturing process to build a phone with all radios so that it can be put on any network. Until then I think we’re stuck with what economics and technology in the US allow.

    Excellent article!

  4. Wholeheartedly agree. We Americans have it backwards when it comes to mobile carriers and phones. Heck, the iPhone took 4+ years to come to Verizon.

    I would love to have some choice on carriers when I go to pick a phone. Weighing pro’s and con’s on each phone for each network is tedious and discouraging. If every major carrier had every major phone, then selecting a carrier would be about customer service and network usability.

    But alas, we Americans are so backward on so many things tech, like internet speeds. Greedy operators want to charge you so much for so little bandwidth, and then sell it to you as “The American Way”. At this point, I just may want the Korean way, or the Japanese way…

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