What's the real scope of hardware openness?

Torfinn Ingolfsen tingox at gmail.com
Mon Aug 6 14:08:45 CEST 2007


On 8/6/07, Luca Dionisi <luca.dionisi at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have a likely silly question.

OK, I'll bite... :-)

> I'm wondering why is it that in the mobile phone world there has
> not been a revolution similar to the P2P that we have seen in
> the internet, e.g. with emule or bittorrent, that is where the
> users are benefitting from each other instead of relying in a
> centralized service provider.

First of all, you do realize that the "internet" way and the
"telephone" way are two totally different ways of thinking?

The "telephone world" has always been about the central service
provider, first national telcos, then provider-to-provider agreements
to do international calls. Later came the privatization of the market,
which gave us private telcos in many countries, but still kept the
central service provider model.

> I mean, what if each phone in a neighborwood could be used as
> a "radio-bridge" in order for a caller to find a path to a callee
> without having to rely on a network operator and pay for it?

Well, for the GSM network at least, the current devices simply cannot
talk to each other directly, ech needs to talk to a base station. Also
the "telephone directory" is a database on a base station controller,
without that you wouldn't even know where to route your call. And I
haven't mentioned calls to landline telephones yet, or text

> I thought that the absence of this feature was a limitation
> imposed on the user from the phone builders. So when I saw the
> FIC initiative I thought that this kind of openness could lead
> to the possibility of such a scenario.
> But I think I'm mistaking it.
> What's the real problem?

The real problem is that the current mobile phone networks around the
world (anyone, correct me if I am mistaken and there exists mobile
phone networks which are not built like this) are built up around the
"telephone way" of thinking, and therefore lacks the necessary
infrastructure elements to do it another way.

When all mobile phones have wifi, and there is free wifi access
everywhere, you could change the phones to use that for transport, or
you could run something like Skype on them.

Today, the wifi access simply isn't there, too few of my contacts have
wifi phones, and I don't want to use a system whic is (currently) that
Torfinn Ingolfsen

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