Ian: Box breaking will survive


Our story that box-breakers have fixated on mobile broadband dongles as the next target of their enterprise demonstrates once more the futility of the networks attempting to control the market. 

For, where there’s a subsidy there are always maverick wheelers and dealers with an eye for the main chance.

And, as they move with more speed, stealth and cunning than the average network business school graduate, it doesn’t take long before the best laid business models lie in ruins. It is hard to believe that the networks did not see this coming.

They have had since 1985 to get the message that one network’s subsidised equipment is another man’s considerable profit opportunity. Our story indicates the rationing measures attempted by the likes of Carphone Warehouse. 

Frankly, they are laughable. One box-breaker could easily obtain 25 dongles in three months from one store just by utilising family and friends, let alone hiring an army of sub-agents to buy the kit in return for a tenner. Box breaking is big business.

The ring leaders hire people from all walks of life to work for them at around £5 a pop. It’s the free market at work in its purest sense – understanding the commercial system and taking advantage of it. 

Fleas and elephants spring to mind.

We suspect that anyone touring the souks of Dubai will already see enough stock of O2 and T-Mobile-branded dongles to start their own virtual network.