Which mobile/Wireless legislation is needed?; Patientline; Open systems and Rating the nurse in ward two ..


In spite of the flippant sounding headline .. This blog covers an important topic ..

I am an invited expert advisor to the European union Joint research commission – which is a part of the European union pre legislative/policy support initiative.

In many ways, my unorthodox – but also I believe practical – views complement the more traditional view point and it is always great to be a part of this initiative.

I will cover two aspects in this blog ..

Firstly, which aspects should be legislated to facilitate greater uptake of mobile / wireless technology within the European union (and I seek your feedback on this) ..

Although, no big fan of legislation – there are areas where clearly legislation is needed.

My three candidates are

a) Roaming charges

b) Transparency of pricing and

c) Transcoding(this will need a separate blog) – but by transcoding I also mean any ‘retrofitted changes’ to a site from a provider that affects the accessibility of the site itself

Seek thoughts and feedback ..


I also spoke about my usual viewpoint .. OpenGardens and Open mobile networks and I gave the example of patientline – to explain the problem at a microcosm level.

Patientline , as its name suggests is a network designed to ‘provides communication services to patients’. Patientline was recently in the news for increasing the cost of calls by 160%.

Let’s delve into the background behind this decision ..

Patientline is a monopoly(aka walled garden)

When it was deployed, mobile phones were totally banned from hospitals

So, at great cost (£160m!) and after considerable time, a network was put in to serve the ‘captive’ audience.

Note that the business model (i.e. recouping the investment of the network) and creating a profit on that investment – depended in the customers NOT having a choice ..

After this network was deployed, it was discovered that phones could be used in hospitals(but obviously not near equipment) and certainly they could be used outside the building itself

At this point, after all the cost and expenses, the customer had a choice ..

So, they took it ..

And this explains the hike in prices and the ‘enhanced services’ (TV) introduced in an attempt to recoup costs.

However, this is a part of a more fundamental problem

Openness makes a lot more sense when viewed from a customer standpoint and technology will catch up sooner than we think – breaking business models which restrict the customer.

This is inevitable. Happened to AOL, is happening to Mobile Operators and will happen to Patientline.

And it underpins the LTE vs. wimax debate

As an industry it takes us a long time to get things done; we need to move faster otherwise others will eat our lunch,” said Sarin

And what is the solution?

Accept that networks will be an investment with little returns. However, look to add services on top of a network.

What could that be in case of patientline?

Maybe a social network amongst patients

Maybe a game to rate the nurse in ward two ..

Who knows?

I don’t. And that’s the point

Patientline would need to be viewed as a platform ..

Intelligence will shift away from the core of the network to the edge of the network. And that means, we don’t know what will be the killer application. It will emerge. And it could be even as odd as a social network amongst patients

A deeper discussion about opening up networks and its impact can be found in the blog on Open Mobile and business models relating to open systems

Comments welcome especially on what should be legislated!

In a curious twist ..patientline’s tagline is – The choice is all yours :)