Killer applications on their way, despite the doom-mongers

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Despite a bad press, mobile data services and applications are on the verge of a major upsurge across Europe. The new era of mobile usage will be big business, and operators are set to profit.

The huge growth in mobile Internet applications and content speaks for itself – silencing the initial criticism about the technology and the cost of the licenses.

The success of this market is apparent in the availability and use of mobile Internet services – and in some cases, they are here already.
According to IDC, mobile application revenues (from traffic, advertising, sponsorship, and subscription) are set to increase from $3.3 billion in 2001 to $44.8 billion by 2005.

Heavy investment
“Many mobile operators are concerned that their investments in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) licenses are weighing too heavily on their balance sheets,” said Tim Sheedy, research manager of IDC’s European Wireless and Mobile Communications research.

“Even operators who do not have a high license fee will still have to spend many hundreds of millions of dollars – possibly even billions – to roll out their 3G network.”

Making the most of the networks
Operators must develop, or provide, third-party mobile applications that actually make use of these networks. These won’t necessarily have to be broadband applications, as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) will answer many of the needs of the consumer when it comes to mobile data applications.

What more could you want?
Mobile applications will include:
• Intranet access
• Internet browsing
• vertical applications
• email access (laptop/PDA or mobile phone)
• mobile office
• banking / finance
• information services
• instant messaging
• remote diagnostics
• games
• shopping
• music
• video
• multimedia messaging
• gambling

More than one killer
Not just one killer application exists, but several.

“The smorgasbord approach will be the most successful model for mobile operators and mobile portal providers,” said Sheedy. “For example, a parking application may be successful in London or Paris, but might not be so successful in smaller cities or towns where parking isn’t as much of an issue. Users must be given a choice of many different applications and they will, to an extent, choose the ones that suit them the most.”

Several factors will be critical in the success of these applications – location, commerce and personalization for the consumer environment, and workflow and business opportunity for the corporate environment.

“Mobile operators need to focus more of their energies into finding out which mobile applications businesses and consumers are interested in and then develop these applications or partner with content developers or application providers who can actually provide the solution to their users,” Sheedy concluded.

Read all about it
Mobile Data Services and Applications in Western Europe: Forecast and Analysis, 2000-2005 analyzes the market for mobile data services and applications in Western Europe. Forecasts and analysis of mobile subscribers, SMS, mobile data services, mobile browser (such as WAP), and mobile Internet applications are provided. Revenue analysis has been split between the operators and the content and applications providers. Additional information is provided regarding drivers and inhibitors of these services and applications and where the opportunities and challenges lie for the different players in the market.

IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends using a combination of primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction. IDC’s customers include IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community.

IDC

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