Friday, May. 29, 2009

Changing Telecommunications

Twitter may not replace the land line, the cell phone, or voice and texting communications, but it will certainly supplement them as a way to get around telecom data plans. Tweeting inside a browser does not have the same data cost for the telecom user that texting does, which adds another huge nonmetered communications opportunity for businesses and consumers. It opens the question of what large cellular-service providers will do when conversations move away from their ability to track them. TwitterBerry accounts, used on RIM (RIMM) Blackberry handsets, make it nearly impossible for messages to be tracked by data use.

Telecom companies have chosen to manage user behavior by forcing customers to transfer voice, video and data on platforms that they can track. Twitter will force telecoms into a position similar to the one cable companies find themselves in. Cable would like to charge broadband users by the load they put on the local system. So far, the government has rejected that model, but as broadband use grows, cable may not be able to give customers access to unlimited bandwidth because of infrastructural limits. Cellular companies could face an analogous problem with the growth of Twitter.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Watch TIME's video "iPhone vs. Blackberry."

See pictures of retailers that have gone out of business.