As the thought of paying $3500 for a month of gprs sinks in and I think about the speech I'm going to give at MILIA to the carriers and content providers in the audience, I'm thinking more and more about how I think it might be a bad idea for the carriers to get into the content business.
I think that as broadband becomes a standard part of households, more and more people will fill up their iPods and mobile devices with all the content they need from their flat-fee low-cost pipe. Most content isn't THAT time sensitive. I don't see any reason to have to download content on-the-go over expensive gprs when devices can talk wifi or bluetooth and have enough storage to allow you to carry content around.
The main value that always-on provides is presence information, short messages and time sensitive stuff like news. I don't really see the need to have broadband to do that. I think the carriers should focus their energies on stuff like identity, payment systems, IM and presence and leave the content business up to people who know how to move large volumes of bits around at low cost. The problem with most telephone companies is that they have spent their whole lives worrying about quality of service, but moving large volumes of data around is not about quality of service. You can afford to drop a few bits if they're not time sensitive and it's a completely different game than the circuit business.
I realize that 3G networks are supposed to provide us with a cheaper way to provide mobile broadband, but I just can't imagine the cost of all of the roaming deals, the metering systems and the BigCo overhead ever being able to compete with the simplicity of the Internet and wifi. I am not convinced that there is a market for broadband mobile content.
This may seem obvious to Internet folks, but I think the mobile operators are seriously considering broadband content over mobile phone networks as "the next big thing".