A few days ago I met up with T-Mobile USA’s chief technology officer, Cole Brodman, at the launch of the new Google Phone, the MyTouch. (Read my interview with Cole.) After the panel discussion, the two of us got chatting about why carriers love social networking (Answer: Because it sells data and makes them money) and how the notion of communications was morphing to include newer modes of conversation such as Twitter and Facebook.
During our discussion, Brodman said that T-Mobile was working hard to reinvent its MyFaves feature into a social networking hub. For those of you who are not T-Mobile subscribers, My Faves is a way to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages to your five favorite people — family, friends or in case of Mr. Monk, his shrink.
It’s going to be more than an economically optimized calling service, Brodman said. “I want it to be more than just voice,” he said. “I want it to be a lens to our social networks.” He said that the company is hoping to do a social makeover of the MyFaves and push it aggressively to their customers in 2010.
T-Mobile’s isn’t the only one to get the religion. Google is on the social bandwagon, too, and so is every other carrier trying to go “social.” By the way, one has to give kudos to INQ Mobile’s Frank Meehan and crew for thinking up a new category of devices called the social mobiles. As we wrote earlier:
In the meantime, the use of social networks as communication tools will only continue. Like email and instant messaging, Facebook (and soon Twitter) are what we use to stay in touch with our friends, colleagues and family. These little status updates and messages add up to a lot of bandwidth growth. Who said you needed a smartphone to drive data growth?
For now the carriers are riding this data gravy train, but they better start thinking about the future. I think Brodman and his company are going down the right path of rethinking the whole communications experience and building devices that fit this fast-changing world.