Carrier apathy blamed for slowing 3G progress

Former One.Tel director, Brad Keeling, has claimed Telstra is deliberately moving slowly on the provision of content to mobile services in Australia.

"What's slowing 3G content provision isn't that Telstra owns the copper cabling, it's that the biggest telco is also a major holder of content licenses, and simply isn't interested in delivering high-quality mobile content to the Australian market," he said.

Now heading up marketing for Australia-based mobile video outfit, Slice Wireless, Keeling spends most of his time focusing on the European market, which he said is about 18 months ahead of Australia in terms of mobile content availability.

Keeling is in Australia to present at the upcoming XMediaLabs conference and creative workshop, set to be held August 11-13 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.

While he conceded resellers needed to become more aware of 3G mobile technology in order to grow the user base, he said it was up to the carriers to train staff in branded stores, and provide real incentives to independent retailers.

"Content rich mobile services don't work unless a customer specifically asks for them to be turned on, and retailers aren't being provided with the training or incentives they need to tell their customers how to do that," Keeling said. "Eventually, demand will force the carriers to make the services easier to use, and to decouple content with service provision, but we're still about 18 months away from a broad uptake of the technology."

Also presenting at the XMediaLabs conference, director of innovation for mobile communications consultancy MNet, Paul Daly, called for the carriers to be more proactive when it came to developing content rich transactions.

He suggested carriers need to reduce premium SMS rates in order for mobile commerce to become viable in Australia.

"I want to make sure my presentation is a reality check for the conference participants," Daly said. "There is a lot we can do with mobile communications in Australia. The opportunities are there but a lot of different parties need to come together in order to make it work."

The XMediaLab conference, now in its third year, will feature 17 digital media broadcasters and producers from around the world. In the following two-day creative workshop, participants turn attentions to developing and maturing eight mobile media projects, although specific projects have yet to be finalised.

Nominations are still open, and can be lodged at