The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association held its Wireless IT show in Las Vegas this week:
- U.S. users sent almost a billion text messages between January and June 2002 compared to just 30,000 during the same period of 2001, according to new figures released by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association at its Wireless IT show in Las Vegas this week.
The CTIA’s research found that as of June 2002, 65% of all devices were data-capable, an increase of 60% over the year before. The industry group also reported that the amount of money carriers made from data services in
six months more than doubled from the first half of 2001 to the first half
These figures ran true to Linda Barrabee, senior analyst for wireless/mobile
services at the Yankee Group. Barrabee told Total Telecom that only a small
proportion of the user base is text messaging at present (reportedly just 9
million out of the total 140 million phone users).
“We do see significant growth in data services but it isn’t a significant
contributor to ARPU,” she said. She added that the Yankee Group has halved
its Q3 mobile data forecasts to US$5.8 million in 2006 (from $0.07 million
this year), not least because “carriers have already started to compete on
price before the market has really materialized.”
In contrast IDC reckons the business market for mobile data will itself be
worth $16.8 million in 2006.
Representatives from Sega.com, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and EMI
Recorded Music took part in a keynote address on Thursday – the first time
such a line-up has appeared at a CTIA show.
According to Fabrice Grinda, a speaker at the show and CEO of Zingy, a major
content provider, the debate so far has focused on why the U.S. has been
slower than other regions to develop a market for mobile applications and
Attendees blamed the carriers, he said, citing bad pricing schemes and systems that prevented easy collaboration with third party developers. “But
we’re moving in the right direction [now],” he said, “though not as fast as
content companies would like.”
Zingy has seen a change in demand since it first started a year ago, Grinda
said. “Most of our user growth was [initially] from our advertising. Now [it
is] being driven by word of mouth.” Zingy has 1.5 million users of which 15%
come back every week and 35% every month.
Grinda said the show had been busy for business development if not in terms
of attendance. “The deal making is incredible,” he said. One agreement he
could talk about was that with online content provider uClicks to provide
comics such as Garfield and Dick Tracy.
Phone manufacturers have also come in for criticism at the show. John Smedley, chief operating officer of Sony Entertainment, reportedly accused
vendors of putting out bug-ridden phones in their rush to bring new models
to market. He also bemoaned today’s monochrome screens and small displays.
Smedley disclosed that Sony Entertainment will bring on multi-player games
over the next year. Gaming is considered a key component of mobile data
services and in one of its many announcements this week, AT&T Wireless said
it will be offering a hit video game (skateboarding classic Tony Hawk) on
its mMode service.
Verizon Wireless, the largest carrier in the U.S., announced an overhaul of
its text messaging Website Vtext.com. New features include a communities
chat room service as well as customizable text shortcuts and wallpaper. The
company also announced deals with Airborne Entertainment and The Weather
Channel to provide information via SMS.
Those kids and their phones.