Surveys and consumer electronics
Russell posts and touches on the value of surveys: "14% of 3 subscribers said they didn't have a 3G phone"
That's fantastic; they're using this amazing technology, and they don't even know it. Who cares if it's just for voice calls? That happens to be where most of the revenue for telcos is at the moment, and with a massively underutilised network 3 can afford to chuck away bandwidth, for now, if it attracts customers. (It's worth noting that most new telcos enter a market with customer-grabbing loss-leading offers: it's one popular way you get a customer base in a contested marketplace).
This sort of thing reminds me of an article Jay wrote for NetImperative way back when we started out in 2000. 5 years on and we're still not seeing much in the way of services which tap into this mass connectivity. I've just posted a comment to this effect on Jason Kitcats blog:
"Why don't my utility providers text me when a bill goes overdue? It's cheaper for them than sending stamps, and quicker. Why can't I report in electricity meter readings over text? Why can I get my bank balance whenever I want? Or find out when the bins in my street will be emptied? Or report vandalism to the council? Get alerts of local building plans which affect me? And so on.
There are a million beautifully mundane uses for even the most basic connectivity that SMS provides"