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Evolving Mobile Phone Content and Services

Despite falling average revenues per user (ARPU) for mobile operators, the mobile content and services market will continue to grow dramatically as services and applications reach maturity and new services begin to gain traction, according to a study by Informa Telecoms & Media.

The latest edition of the Informa 'Mobile Content and Services' report reveals that the introduction of a whole host of new players into the value chain presents new opportunities for growth in the mobile content and services market, while simultaneously posing a threat to mobile operators who face losing control of the billing relationship with their customers.

The mobile web heralds a new age mobile handset and network technology has now evolved to a point where true mobile web access is possible. Informa anticipates that by 2011, just under half of all mobile subscribers worldwide will use mobile browsing -- a trend it sees developing with new European operator offerings such as the T-Mobile 'Web n Walk' service and the 3 'X-Series' services.

Despite this trend, messaging applications such as SMS will continue to dominate the overall revenues for the market, generating over half the total revenue in 2011 -- down from the current 67 percent in 2006.

"Advanced mobile content and services have been slow to take off, but this should not be confused with the deepening relationship that we have with our mobile phones. We may not be buying as many games, full-track downloads or multimedia messages as operators would like, but we are spending a huge amount of time sending and reading text messages and organizing our lives using the phone's address book, clock, alarm and calendar functions," commented Daniel Winterbottom, Senior Analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media and author of the report.

"Over time, users will warm to other data services as well. The mobile web is a prime example: WAP failed to take off when it was first launched, but five years on, more and more users have become comfortable with accessing news or other information on their mobile phones."

Actually, I know that this statement is very true for the Europe and Asia-Pacific marketplace, but it doesn't reflect the progress -- or lack thereof -- in the North American markets. We're still very much in the early-adopter stage of market development, and there's no apparent sign that the value-added services market is evolving significantly. At least, not yet.

The global mobile entertainment space will also see significant innovation and development. Several technologies, such as mobile music, have been available for a number of years but the increased availability of high-speed data networks (such as 3G and HSDPA) is giving further appeal to these services, according to Informa.

Mobile music will be a major contributor to the revenues achieved in the mobile entertainment market in the next 5 years, although its overall share of the market will fall from 40 percent in 2006 to 36 percent in 2011 as new forms of entertainment such as mobile TV and video services begin to gain consumer interest.

Games, gambling, personalization and adult content will all see significant growth, as the overall mobile entertainment market grows from $18.84 billion in 2006 to $38.12 billion in 2011.

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