Friday, March 12, 2010

Telecom companies likely to move to volume-based data charges

[zawya] Dubai As users around the world consume more media on smaller devices, expect to see telecom companies move to volume-based data charges, according to Dr Suk-Chae Lee, chairman of KT Corporation, who spoke yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

KT is one of South Korea's largest telecom companies.

Telecom companies around the world are struggling to handle the amount of traffic generated by wireless devices, such as smartphones. A switch to a volume-based fee, he believes, will help them better manage their networks.

"It will be seen if the telecos can handle the amount of heavy traffic that is being created," he said.

He said the iPhone in particular, which is even being used in place of PCs in Korea, was causing problems with broadband networks even in countries with well-developed digital networks.

Surge in usage

He said a surge in wireless usage following the suicide of former president Roh Moo-hyun nearly brought the networks to a standstill in South Korea.

Dirk Meyer, AMD President and CEO, who also spoke at the conference, said that subsidised models may be on the rise.

Subsidised models involve telecom companies reducing the cost of digital devices to encourage subscription use. This will become more prominent, Meyer said, especially as graphically-intense technology, such as voice and facial recognition, become more prominent.

"This is something the companies need to think about as these technologies come online," he said.


Jonney Shih, chairman of hardware manufacturer Asus, said that despite the rise in small and medium-sized devices, PCs will still be important because users still need to be able to work on heavy-duty media creation. "Media is still important," he said. "Content is everything."

The changing nature of the media is also forcing changes in the hardware industry. Meyer said the use of touchscreens in forcing hardware makers to invent better natural user interfaces. He also predicted that keyboards and the mouse will gradually begin to fade away.

Lee said the introduction of the iPhone in South Korea was making hardware makers in the country take notice.

He said the popularity of the iPhone was "a slap in the face of Samsung and other mobile phone companies," but that it may also be good for the country in the long run.

Hopefully, the arrival of smartphones [in Korea] will help young people develop an interest in technology, so finally we can begin to compete with Silicon Valley, but not now," he said.

Telecom companies likely to move to volume-based data charges

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