Telecommunications, Automotive and Market Research

More than 15 years in the mobile telecommunications industry and an industry analyst since 1998.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Worlds: Netheads and Bellheads creating our future.

In a previous post, I alluded to what I consider to be two different worlds in the mobile payments space. In reality, those two worlds are facing off in almost everything mobile.  I call people from those two worlds "Bellheads" and "Netheads."

Bellheads, as you might guess, are people who work for the phone companies. Call them what you like... telcos, telecom carriers, incumbents. Their business has always been to connect two phones and make one of them ring. And, of course, keep meticulous records so they can charge for every minute of use. All of the US telephone companies and cellular operators are run by Bellheads

Netheads, on the other hand, come from Silicon Valley and are wrap their businesses around computers and communication via the Internet. You know the Netheads by name: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell, Yahoo!

Bellheads are network builders. Netheads are network users.

Bellheads want the meter running for everything. Netheads prefer unlimited bandwidth.

Even though they'd been eying each other warily for years, the real collision came in 2007 with the release of the iPhone when the Netheads showed the Bellheads their best. And, because of their success, the Netheads got to dictate some of their own terms.

However, despite the fantastic hardware and all the App Store applications, there's still one place where the Bellheads have the upper hand: Capitol Hill.  Their influence is strong, they are savvy and they know how to make legislation and FCC rulings go the right way.

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