I remember when I first became involved in online banking we had to ensure the site was optimised for very low bandwidth connections. One of my very earliest deployments the bank actually went live with their online banking service connected to the web with
nothing more than a 56k modem - so the optimisation had to work both ways.
Today, for the vast majority of online services, all of that has changed. Bandwidth is not seen as a restriction as it once was. We have design-heavy websites with streaming video, and banks launching 24x7 customer services via video link (albeit in branch
at the moment, but no doubt this will be pushed out to the web).
The problem is, Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and Mobile Network Operators (MNO's) are struggling to fulfil our demands for data movement. Every byte has a price, and the sheer volume of traffic is changing the market. ISP's are looking to charge content
providers for unfettered access to their subscribers, whilst both ISP's and MNO's are reducing their customers' data entitlements.
You can still have it fast, just not so much of it at a time.
As we move away from this "all you can eat" model (and hopefully away from the marketing spin of "Unlimited"), will this affect usage? If we consider the mobile space specifically, will [more traditional] customers err away from the mobile web and apps which
eat away at their data allowances, and revert back to their other "mobile channels": SMS and Voice?
Perhaps the MNO's could introduce the equivalent of a freephone number for data, so the banks can say to their customers "using our mobile applications will not incur any data charges with your network operator". Not as crazy as it sounds - it would still
mean that mobile would be one of the most cost effective channels for the bank, whilst also encouraging adoption. It would also go someway to addressing the concerns of MNO's in the race to NFC and mobile wallets, where they want to charge interchange fees
for carrying the payment information.
Could such "Free Domain" (Freedom?) addresses help banks drive adoption of the low cost mobile channel?