Annual report contains: Mobile triple play, SMS, MMS, Mobile TV, HSDPA, IPMS, Edge, WAP, GPRS, HSCSD, EV DO, iX, 4G, Corporate Mobile data, m-commerce, micropayments, RFID, telemetry, GPS, location services. Also contains industry analysis issues and strategies, government policies, spectrum developments.
Detailed chapters on:
Critical assessments of the mobile data technologies
New business models such as Triple Play
Business issues for content providers
Mobile data vs. wireless broadband
Trends and Developments
Revenues and forecasts
The lack of success of new 3G services, that followed the already slow uptake of dedicated mobile data systems that were developed in the 1990s, is a clear indication that interest in traditional mobile data is still limited. WAP, GPRS, MMS, 1X and other developments over the past few years certainly have not changed the situation. Current mobile technologies are not well suited for economically viable business models for mobile data. WiMAX might challenge mobile data towards the end of the decade, but the mobile industry is trying to fight back with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access).
The lack of suitable infrastructure has hampered the growth of mobile data. As with voice applications, the emerging nextgen (NGN) platforms are going to have a major impact. While it still needs to deliver, IMS is an example of such NGN developments. Mobile voice communications will consolidate in mature markets but continue their spectacular growth in developing countries, mainly Africa. However, mobile data, beyond SMS and particular countries such as Japan and Korea, will remain a niche market business and will grow into IP-based WiMAX services towards the end of the decade. Apart from IP Multimedia System (IMS), the main enabler is broadband. The aim is now to bundle these products into attractive triple play or quadruple play business models.
If we measure the market based on the number of mobile content providers, then there certainly is plenty of interest in this market. Unfortunately these providers depend on the mobile operators in order to deliver their products to their customers. The business models that these operators offer are hopelessly inadequate. They are not catering for impulse buy models. With the exception of Japan, Korea and China, very few sustainable models are currently in operation. The rest of the world is waiting on MVNO models that provide content providers with the freedom to distribute their own products and manage their own billing and customer service.
Mobile data applications
SMS makes it possible to use the same mobile handset for voice and data services. The market has grown by default despite carriers having refused to properly market and package their SMS services for most of the 1990s. It was driven by teenagers who preferred to send (cheaper) SMS messages rather than making expensive calls. SMS is used as a cheaper alternative to making mobile calls as well as becoming trendy amongst young mobile users.
As an extension of the immensely popular SMS service, MMS provides longer text messages, in addition to music and pictures, and allows the sending of messages to multiple recipients. Started in 2001, it has so far failed to take off. There are too many technical and commercial issues and in the meantime new technologies such as 3G and Mobile TV have entered the market. However, it appears that only wireless broadband will be able to deliver a sustainable economic platform for these triple play multimedia services.
The initial hype surrounding m-commerce has somewhat settled down. Most people have realised the limitations of the current 2G and 3G technologies. While the principle behind m-commerce remains strong, we might have to wait for mass market wireless broadband deployment towards the end of this decade before we see significant new growth here. This would also provide operators, MVNO and off-net content providers to build more economic viable business models around these products. SMS based systems are also ideally suited for micropayments on the Internet. Permission based models are used for quizzes, games and TV shows.
Mobile data infrastructure
Technologies have been developed to bridge the gap between the well established 2G and the much vaunted 3G, the so-called 2½G. To date, there have been limited success stories related to these technologies, but interest is slowly being rekindled following the poor showing by WAP. Technologies discussed here include GPRS, EDGE, HSCSD and i-Mode.
With most countries still considering the introduction of 3G, the industry is already developing 3¼G and beyond, with technologies such as HSDPA. Linking fixed and mobile together on IMS is another development, allowing for mobile TV and triple play models.
Whereas SMS took the world by surprise, Mobile TV aims to follow in its footsteps. It combines two of the most widespread media - communications and TV. The first applications started to arrive in Europe in the early 00s. The major threats to this new medium are the high costs and the lack of an adequate infrastructure for such services. Permission-based marketing (premium SMS) and triple play are amongst the most successful business models to push these new technologies forward.
Corporate mobile data services have been around more than 15 years. They have been mainly based on dedicated mobile data networks used by companies with large sales forces, service teams, travelling agents, and so on. In order for such organisations to use mobile data services, they will need sophisticated internal electronic information networks in place to which the mobile data systems can be linked. This report discusses networks such as BlackBerry, Mobitex and Ditac and the various applications used. It also discusses the business opportunities of mobile data services such as GPRS over GSM and wireless broadband networks such as WiMAX.
Telemetry and RFID
Automatic Data Capture (ADC) is a collective term for a group of technologies that includes Barcoding, Magnetic Stripe, Radio Frequency (RF) Tagging and Data Communication, Optical and Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (OCR, MICR), Smartcards and Vision and Voice Recognition Systems. They are an efficient form of information capture for the management of information, and information for management. This report gives a description of each of these technologies, together with the emerging RFID.
Using satellites, mobile technology allows for major navigational services, including global navigation, global positioning including GPS and GLONASS, the emerging European Galileo system, location-based services such as the 911 service in the USA, and personal navigation phones.
The main uses for mobile telemetry are presently fleet management, security and equipment monitoring. The high growth in this field is fuelled by the convergence of wireless, computing and Internet technologies, which will create a range of affordable and practical applications.
As vendors fight for market share and more bandwidth becomes available, mobile phones are incorporating a variety of new functions such as still and movie cameras, advanced messaging, access to the Internet etc. Sales of handsets slowed markedly following the industry downturn in 2001, but started to recover in early 2004, with rapid growth during the year, aided by the development of new equipment such as camera phones. This continued into early 2006. The trend here is that the mobile and wireless broadband market will be driven by the new devices that will be pushed onto the market by the vendors. Mobile operators will see their present leading position to drive this market severely curtailed. Nokia retains it dominant market share, with Samsung showing the fastest growth rate. It is expected that the IT and CE industries are going to take a more prominent role in the market of new wireless broadband devices.
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