Sprint exec suggests being the best damn carrier isn’t so bad

The mobile computing industry is a landscape segmented by corporate thinking that they are the end all, be all and that the carriers in the business need to be the ones controlling everything from the platforms used and the content that is available. Everyone from AT&T through to Qwest treat the mobile marketplace as their own individual private fiefdoms to lock users into and extort as much money from them as possible.

As Tom Conrad, chief technology officer for Pandora, said at the recent VentureBeat conference on the mobile world

Pandora chief technology officer Tom Conrad said some wireless carriers are still grappling with the question of whether to think of themselves as media companies or as more of a utility.

“Will carriers become pipes or will they continue to be media companies?” he said. “They’re realizing it’s not the worst end game if they are disintermediated of their desire to become giant media companies and instead become the best wireless backbone,” he said.

This is something that is obviously on the mind’s of the people at Sprint as they have seen the explosion surround the iPhone and the Google Android. Amidst the lackluster sales of Sprint’s mobile partner Palm and their Pre handset a possible re-evaluation of where their best efforts business wise is apparently underway in Sprint’s boardroom.

Our first clue to this re-evaluation comes from the company’s vice president of strategy, Russ McGuire, when he admitted that the carriers themselves might be causing an impediment to growth and innovation. He suggests that the carriers need to “let go” and allow the industry to move at a natural pace.

“We need to let go of demanding permission,” said Russ McGuire, Sprint’s vice president of strategy. “You don’t want to move at carrier speed. You want to move at Valley speed.”


“It’s a fundamental change in our nature, but we need to keep pushing that and riding that and not be an impediment to the growth of the industry,” McGuire said.

While I wouldn’t hold my breath that we will see any concrete changes coming any time soon to the way that carriers like Sprint, Verizon or AT&T do business it is encouraging to see comments like these because it shows that the companies are realizing that a change is coming. Hopefully a change that will see a more ubiquitous user experience when it comes to the consumer experience and the mobile computing world.