May 4, 2006: I am fairly dismayed at the lengths mobile network operators will go to cajole, trick, or force consumers to use higher paying services, all in fealty to the cruel god ARPU. For example, Cingular modified the OS on its Nokia 6682 so that after you take a picture you no longer get a menu option to send via email as a way of trying to get people to send more (high-revenue) MMS messages. I suspect the result is that most people just curse under their breath as they go through the 10 steps it now takes to send via email or else they install a 3rd-party app such as the excellent Shozu. Either way, Cingular gets nothing.

And there's now some data to back up the assumption that the "walled garden" is a misguided strategy: MobileCrunch recently pointed to an Opera report showing that "in direct contradiction of operator’s fears, the use of the Opera browser - which circumvents the “walled garden” that many operators attempt to maintain as a means of further monetizing data customers - is clearly increasing the ARPU that operators receive based upon customer data usage." Hah!