Monday, March 12, 2007



For traditional reasons, one is tempted to think wireless carriers should and tend to concentrate on their telephony functions[1]. They’d only be building beautiful houses without anyone setting the table for humans to really live in them. Content provision, especially for premium services, is as much valuable as revenue from telephony.

But one doesn’t just set anything on the table for the house; it has to be the right food and a healthy diet.

Before the video and film censors board was established any and everything was fed to the masses which provoked reaction from the general public who were stuck to public televised offerings from NTA. Same could happen to our wireless carriers if proactive steps are not taken to, at least, to set guidelines for what could be defined as content on their networks.

For one, you’ll agree with me that content with insulting sexual innuendoes and affiliation would get a failing grade. Tribal and racial slurs for another. Politically motivated and inciting campaigns fall into this class also. There are classes of films rated as for Adults only, for the eighteen and above, those that must be viewed with parental guidance etc. It would be appropriate for such assessment to be introduced into this medium, the mobile medium[2].

Appropriate safety measures, government initiated or self-regulating schemes from our national carriers, can and should be put in place now more than ever when the mobile landscape still seems virgin, where it concerns content provision and content provision issues.

If we throw a coin, heads the government wins, tail self-regulation from wireless carriers gets the vote, what face will we see? What face would you want to see? Much more at stake is the question of who pays for establishing content assessing policies before deployment, whether carried out independently or interdependently. He who pays the piper dictates the tunes!

These are problems that must addressed to avoid consumer backlash and a possibly harakiried resort to face-saving short-term solutions, to keep the industry safe from abuse, whether financial (as the recently purported Celtel promo), sexual, or political; whether self-regulated by the wireless carriers or a governmental instrument, the essential is that a defined framework should be seen to exist.


[1].Those who are familiar with Nitel (now Transcorp!) will tell you that saturation of the telephony channel will come soon or late.

[2].Celtel has a rudiment of required guidelines on their website. You can click on the content provider, local or international links. As for Glo and MTN, I didn’t find any reference to content or valued services. I tried writing to the Glo customer care centre from the website, the attempt failed. This is not the first time too.

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