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Upside for Mobile Entertainment Services

According to Portio Research, mobile phone entertainment services have come a long way since their introduction in the form of mono-ringtones in the late nineties, with operators today delivering diverse services such as streaming audio and video, and multi-player games across high speed networks on to advanced handsets.

In 2008, mobile entertainment services -- including mobile music, mobile games and mobile video services -- generated worldwide revenues of nearly $24 billion, and this figure is set to rise to a market value of $47.2 billion by end-2013.

Mobile music continues to be the dominant component of the mobile entertainment services pie, however, within mobile music, ringtones -- the pioneering first entertainment service -- have gradually given way to advanced services, such as ringback tones, streaming audio and full-track downloads.

Worldwide mobile music revenue stood at $11.7 billion at the end of 2008 and is forecast to hit $19.2 billion at the end of 2013.

Mobile games have also shown strong growth recently and will, in all probability, become as big as mobile music in the years to come. With a slew of different options, such as Java, BREW, SMS-based or Browser-based games, mobile gaming has evolved beyond recognition since Nokia launched the Snake, back in 1997.

The value of the worldwide mobile gaming reached $5.5 billion by the end of 2008 and Portio predicts it will grow to $9.8 billion by year-end 2013.

Mobile video services are expected to grow rapidly in the years to come. Detractors of mobile video have previously cited poor handset quality as one of the biggest reasons why these services are yet to take off.

However, with the launch of more viewer-friendly handsets, such as the iPhone, mobile video services are expected to quickly gain popularity. Portio forecasts that worldwide revenues from mobile video will nearly triple to reach $18.2 billion by end-2013, up from $6.7 billion at end-2008.

Other mobile entertainment services are also given coverage in this market study. Among these, the mobile gambling market is projected to grow significantly in the near future, and will be a big business driver for MNOs -- Europe alone is expected to generate $3.2 billion in annual revenue by end-2010.

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