Debunking The Wireless Myth

The week that was in the Australian Internet industry – No.Tel, conclusions from the iMode experience, selling gourmet dinners through the Internet, the budget from a technology perspective and Dr David Skellern.

The speed and ease in which One.Tel fell from grace is nothing short of disturbing. Bullish statements heralding claims of positive cash flow were heard from founders Jodee Rich and Brad Keeling as recent as one month ago. Today, administrators Ferrier Hodgson acknowledged there was a cash short fall in excess of $300 million. The mess must now be cleaned in quick time, which is excellent news for Telecom NZ and Hutchinson. TNZ is eager to expand across the Tasman after having missed out on attractive assets in the Optus sale. Furthermore, Hutchinson must continue to grow if it is to achieve any sort of profitability. We took a look at the possible future scenarios.

The success and vigour with which NTT DoCoMo’s iMode service has been adopted in Japan has left many wireless pundits baffled. On closer inspection, there have been two pillars to its success – marketing and an aggregated billing system. In a marketing sense, iMode has been careful not to draw the analogues of the web and the services that it offers. Instead, it has focused on unique applications, like picture exchanges, to drive the uptake. The second pillar to the success of iMode is its aggregated billing system. Here the benefits of a single billing relationship are made apparent. Users subscribe to various content channels and make one monthly payment to NTT DoCoMo. In exchange for playing the payment gatekeeper, DoCoMo takes 9% of the gross billings. This week, The Beagle took a closer look at the lessons to be learnt from the rising sun.

Janel Horton’s flourishing business is based on the philosophy that life is too short to stuff a mushroom. Horton founded Gourmet Dinner Service eight years ago in the Sydney suburb of Seaforth. The business now processes up to 3,500 weekly orders from its 2,500 strong customer base. The web plays an increasingly important role, now processing 25% of all orders – up remarkably from 5% at the same time this year. From a cost perspective, the Internet dramatically lowers the overheads of distributing menus and telemarketing – which can now be substituted for email. In this week’s Enterprise Watch column, Shelley Dempsey investigated the keys to success and how the small business is able to operate profitably online.

This year’s budget contains a number of initiatives to address the IT&T skills shortage, boost the ICT industries and build national communications networks – but how adequate are the measures? Craig Liddell this week analysed the proposed Costello budget from six technology focused perspectives. His findings are detailed online.

David Skellern (Founder, Radiata) makes an interesting comment in this week’s interview. Skellern notes two types of wireless technology, “one is your mobile phone, a fairly narrow band wireless link, which is really designed to provide connectivity for a wide area, and then other end of the spectrum is this local area, wireless local area network technology. Now, the wireless LAN technology has always been developed with the Internet in mind, the other hasn’t, it has been developed with a focus on voice.” His thoughts are interesting, especially when placed in the context of WAP. David will be speaking at our BreakfastForum tomorrow morning. Registrations for our Melbourne event on June 15 are open and can be made online at

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