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US Wireless Industry in Recessions February 28, 2009

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We have been analyzing the data from the previous recessions to see how much correlation exists with the mobile industry data. Below is the high-level analysis. This will be part of our US Wireless Data Industry Update 4Q08 and 2008 coming out next week.

The current recession is not the first one that the US wireless industry has faced but it is quite different. The first one came in 1990 and lasted for 1 year and the second came amidst the dot-com bubble and terrorist attacks in 2001 and lasted for 2 years. Historically and logically, GDP and consumer spend is closely correlated. When the economy contracts, so does the consumer spending. A look into the income elasticity of demand indicates a change in consumer mobile services demand as a result of drop or change in consumer income. Different patterns of consumer demand emerge in different countries depending on the state of the industry during the specific downturn.


If we compared the US GDP data to the revenues and subscriber data, there is some correlation but state of the industry was quite different around that time. The % change in mobile services revenues and subscriptions went down with the drop in GDP in both instances and recovered as the GDP pulled back after the recession. During the first recession, mobile was a niche service. By 2001, mobile has become a mass-market phenomenon but data services market was largely non-existent. By 2008, the US mobile market had matured with high-degree of subscriber penetration and mobile data had become a healthy and vibrant industry.

1990-1991 The % GDP change (GDP compared to previous year) dropped from 5.8% in 1990 to 3.3% in 1991. The mobile service revenues % change dropped from 36% to 26% over the same time period, the subscriber % growth dropped from 51% to 43%. Subscriber penetration at the end of 1990 was around 3%. Given the smaller base, the drop in mobile numbers can be partially attributed to the fact that as the % penetration grows the % change numbers come down anyway. However, in 1992, when % GDP jumped to 5.7%, the % change in mobile services revenues and total subscribers jumped to 46% and 37% respectively, thus quickly reversing the downward trend.


2001-2003 The % GDP change dropped from 5.9% in 2000 to 3.2%. Over the same period, % change in mobile services revenues dropped from 31% to 24% and % change in total subscribers dropped from 27% to 17%. However, as you would see in slide X, these numbers have been slowly dropping regardless of the recession as the subscriber and revenue base grew. The subscriber penetration in 2000 was 39%.

2008- The % GDP change dropped from 4.8% in 2007 to 2.3% in 2008 with 4Q 2008 reported a drop by 6.2% QoQ in one of the sharpest declines in last quarter century. The nature of this recession is quite different as well. While the previous recessions were limited to certain segments of the overall economy, the current recession has touched every single sector with a vengeance. The subscriber penetration at the end of 2008 was 89%.

So, what can we expect in the next few months. Tune in to our quarterly report next week to read some our 2c.

Kudos to Facebook for dealing with Privacy straight up February 26, 2009

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Privacy is a touchy thing, esp. in this day and age. I have written about it and advised companies on it for many years. One can argue that Scott McNealy got it right when he said – “there is no privacy, get over it” and on the other hand the laws on the books and practices are all messed up. How is your bank privacy policy? you have to physically make calls or write letters to get opted out of being on the “sell list.” They will sell any demographic information including address and phone number. Why is there no outrage for that?

However, online and mobile are different beasts. There is much information gathered over the course of time and something somewhere creates an opportunity for misuse and mistrust. Players like Google and Facebook have great responsibility and their actions will define the era of responsibility and accountability in privacy. Do we get bogged down by the concerns so that we can’t innovate in providing better experiences? Clear answer is No.

When Facebook launched Beacon, I actually liked the program, I had envisioned and written about something similar 7-8 years ago. The mistake, IMHO, was the way it was introduced. It felt sneaky and creepy and thus the revolt and Facebook had to back down. Similar hoopla was created with Facebook changed TOS, again, the mistake was not honoring the two basic principles of privacy – transparency and control.

What’s impressive is the speed with which the company adapts and responds despite what they might think is right for the business or for the strategy, they put the users front and center. So, when Mark Zukerberg opened the discussion of TOS, everyone in the industry should take notice. They probably won’t get it right the first time, but in the spirit of creating of user trust and loyalty, they will eventually, and they will be rewarded for that.

History tells us that systems are most fairly governed when there is an open and transparent dialogue between the people who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We believe history will one day show that this principle holds true for companies as well, and we’re looking to moving in this direction with you.

So, let the discussions begin and hope this dialogue transforms how privacy is handled at all levels. FTC should take notice.

PanIIT 2009 in Chicago February 25, 2009

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PanIIT has become a star-studded conference with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeff Immelt, Bill Gates, Arun Sarin gracing the podium as keynoters for the conference. This year the windy city gets the opportunity to host the IIT 2009 Global Conference Oct 9-11. The early registration is going to run out this week so if you are interested, jump right in. The theme for this conference is “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in a Global Economy”. 

Details at paniit2009.org

Good goes to Visto February 24, 2009

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Mobile Email market has been intriguing for many years. Good acquired JP Mobile which was acquired by Motorola which is not getting acquired (just the Good piece) by Visto. I vividly remember this space back in the early 2000s and now it has whittled down to a few. Nokia has also backed off from its Intellisync email business. RIM still stands tall. Microsoft with its licensing program of Activesync looks pretty strong as well. Rest is noise.

Mossberg goes to Barcelona

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(thanks Omar)

AdAge article: Wireless-Phone Companies Fight Rising Churn Rates February 23, 2009

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I spoke to AdAge last week about the current situation in the wireless industry.

Article by Rita Chang below:


Wireless-Phone Companies Fight Rising Churn Rates

Promotions Abound as Customers Jump on Best Offers Around

By Rita Chang
Published: February 23, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) — With churn rates rising among subscribers, wireless-phone companies are pouring on the promotions and marketing spending in hopes of keeping cost-conscious consumers in the fold.

There are no hard numbers on how consumers react in a recession when it comes to cellphone service. Brand switching rose during the last major downturn, in 2001, but that period isn’t considered comparable since fewer people owned mobile phones and they were considered less of a necessity. But there is anecdotal evidence, at least, that consumers might be willing to jump on the best offer this time around, as churn rates in 2008 rose for both Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint alone shed 1.3 million customers in the fourth quarter. Switching rates for AT&T, with its white-hot iPhone, were largely unchanged.

Churn chart


Customer attrition among top four U.S. wireless carriers

“Most industries will not experience growth during this period, so achieving growth must be at the competition’s expense,” said Bill Morgan, Sprint’s senior VP-marketing. “To lure switchers, companies would be wise to maintain as healthy a marketing budget as prudently possible.”

But the most spending doesn’t always mean the least churn. AT&T outspent Verizon by some $200 million last year yet posted higher churn rates. In 2008, wireless leader Verizon, which still maintains the lowest churn in the industry, spent $2.2 billion in measured media, excluding outdoor and national radio spots, vs. AT&T’s $1.9 billion.

Nonetheless, Verizon is covering it flanks. The carrier, known to compete on quality rather than price, has taken steps within the last week suggesting that it was not above bringing value into the equation. It’s now letting customers on its higher-priced plans choose up to ten people they can talk to without the clock running against their minutes. The feature is a variation of the MyCircle service first launched by Alltel, which Verizon acquired late last year.

Plans for everyone
In the same week, Verizon announced two new prepaid-calling plans, one for heavy users and one for infrequent users, and awarded unlimited weekend minutes to customers of a prepaid plan designed for moderate users. Meanwhile, Verizon Communications, the company’s fixed-line unit, has a $5 monthly plan ready to launch that lets customers receive calls but only dial 911 and Verizon customer service.

“Clearly, consumers will be cost-conscious,” said Chetan Sharma, a telecommunications consultant. “Giving them more flexibility and choices with plans will help.”

A Verizon spokeswoman said promotional plans for the friends and family service would be “significant” to include national TV, store promotion, newspaper ads, but would not say when the campaign, from creative agency McCann Erickson, New York, would break.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, is also eyeing ways to keep customers on the hook. According to published reports, the No. 4 U.S. carrier last week launched an unlimited $50 calling plan on a test basis in the San Francisco area before a national rollout expected later this year. This offering is aimed at current subscribers who are vulnerable to bolting to the $50 unlimited prepaid plan offered by Boost, Sprint’s prepaid unit.

Sprint’s recession-fighter is clearly Boost, which last week unwrapped the “Unwronged” campaign to promote its straight-up $50 prepaid plan while taking shot at other prepaid plans that add on charges such as activation and roaming fees. The campaign, which portrays egregious situations such as pigs eating ham, will run on mainstream channels including ABC, NBC and Fox as Boost seeks to reach a broader audience. The move marks a break from its strategy of tapping more hip or irreverent outlets such as MTV and Comedy Central, which will also run the new spots. The creative agency is 180 Amsterdam.

Customer care
But an even better tool to reduce brand switching than marketing is service, said analysts. “Churn is a lot more about customer care and experience than about marketing,” said Charles Golvin, a Forrester analyst.

Thus, analysts believe Verizon is doing all the right things to get its customers to stay put. Its extension of the Alltel MyCircle — rebranded as the Friends and Family feature — should gain the carrier some loyalty points. “It’s a nice differentiator from AT&T,” said Bill Ho, an analyst with Current Analysis.

“They’re not giving away the store but they’re rewarding the higher- priced subscribers. You want to protect that higher dollar customer base you have. It engenders loyalty. It lets customers think: ‘I got something for nothing.'”

A look at the last downturn

What can marketers learn from the last recession when it comes to churn rates? Not a lot.

During the last downturn, which the National Bureau of Economic Research says began in March 2001 and ended in November 2001, the wireless-subscriber base was still growing. The year ended with about 20% more U.S. wireless subscribers than the year before, according to the Telecommunications Industry Association. Historically, phone subscriptions (landline and wireless) have been among the last consumer items to be cut when the economy is down, said Arthur Gruen of Wilkofsky Gruen Associates.

AT&T’s and Verizon’s churn rates were high in 2001 compared with subsequent years, but in those days, mobile phones were nowhere as entrenched as they are today. Moreover, operators have since become adept at managing churn through add-on services and investments in their networks, and consumers now have prepay services as a fallback.

MES Panel: Impact of Innovations on Mobile Entertainment Experiences February 22, 2009

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My panel at MES is shaping up nicely with 3 great panelists confirmed.

Impact of Innovation on Mobile Entertainment Experiences
This panel will look into the future (3-5 year) timeframe and discuss which of the technologies (projection, analytics, NFC, social networking, three screens, social TV.) might have the most impact on the direction of the mobile entertainment industry. Includes discussion on how the iPhone is reshaping consumer expectations.

Details here

Interview w/ BusinessWeek on the state of the wireless industry February 20, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,Carriers,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

Olga Kharif from BW talked to me about the state of the US wireless market. Article below. I will have more commentary on the same in our yearly update report in a few days.


Sprint Nextel: The Canary in Wireless’s Coal Mine?

The wireless carrier’s fourth-quarter challenges may be shared by the rest of the industry in the coming months

By Olga Kharif

“Economic uncertainty” was the phrase of the day for Sprint Nextel (S). During a Feb. 19 conference call, executives of the No. 3 U.S. wireless service provider used the two words liberally to describe the company’s fourth-quarter results. In the three months ended in December, sales fell, losses ballooned, and customers jumped ship. There was so little visibility into the future that the company declined to make a forecast for the current quarter.

Usually when Sprint reports a bad quarter, it’s easy to blame challenges specific to the company, including subpar customer service and network performance. But this time around, Sprint’s woes augur a rough year for the entire industry.

Sprint Nextel’s results are an early indication that the tough economic times engulfing construction, banking, and other industries are catching up with wireless carriers. Already, the downturn has pushed equipment maker Nortel (NT) into bankruptcy and ravaged sales of phone manufacturers like Motorola (MOT). Now it’s the service providers’ turn. “I don’t think there’s any sector that’s been untouched,” says Brent Iadarola, a global research director for consultant Frost & Sullivan. “The wireless sector is not immune.”


Sprint Nextel may be feeling the pinch from businesses earliest because, among the top wireless carriers, it has the largest proportion of corporate customers. Sprint reported a “sizable” increase in turnover among corporate customers, which account for more than 25% of its user base. Companies are eliminating employees and canceling contracts for Research In Motion (RIMM) BlackBerrys and other business-friendly devices that run on the Sprint Nextel network. “We can watch unemployment [rise] and see a direct impact on our enterprise business,” Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse says in an interview with BusinessWeek.

Though Sprint is the largest national provider of wireless service to businesses, the enterprise exodus may also affect the top two mobile-phone service providers: AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone Group (VOD). Businesses are cutting back on air cards that connect laptops to the Web via wireless networks, as well as related data plans, says consultant Chetan Sharma. One maker of air cards, Sierra Wireless (SW), on Jan. 29 announced it would lay off 10% of its workforce amid a drop in fourth-quarter revenue. About 12% of carriers’ data revenues come from data cards, Sharma estimates. While Hesse says Sprint isn’t feeling an impact yet, its rivals are. In a recent note, UBS (UBS) estimated that AT&T’s net air card additions fell 121,000 in the fourth quarter, from 186,000 in the third quarter and 166,000 in the second.

Consumers are starting to curtail wireless service purchases, too. Of 2,151 U.S. online cell-phone users surveyed by JupiterResearch in November, one-third were considering cutting back on wireless spending and the number of minutes and texts they use per month. In the fourth quarter, sales of downloadable content like ringtones and games declined 4% to 5%, Sharma estimates. “People are just buying less than they used to,” Sharma says. “That’s discretionary spending, and it’s going away.” Only last July, researcher Gartner (IT) said it expected mobile gaming, one of the most popular forms of downloadable content, to surge 40% to $6.3 billion in 2011, from $4.5 billion in 2008.

At Handango, an online provider of mobile applications, sales have declined in the past year, and the average order value fell 10%, says CEO Alex Bloom. High-priced productivity and utility applications have been hit the hardest, as consumers cut back and developers began offering similar apps for less or free through rival stores, like the Apple (AAPL) App Store and Android Market. Some mobile games outfits are struggling as well: On Feb. 4, THQ (THQI) laid off 100 staffers from its mobile gaming division, citing “continued economic weakness and uncertainty in the market.” For now, the pain is not universal: Mobile content providers MobiTV and PopCap Games say they are doing well.


Analysts are also concerned as consumers migrate away from traditional service plans—where users sign up for one- or multiyear contracts—and opt for lower-priced, more flexible prepaid services such as Leap (LEAP), MetroPCS (PCS), and Sprint’s own Boost Mobile. On Jan. 22, Boost introduced Boost Unlimited, offering unlimited anytime calling, text messaging, wireless Web, and walkie-talkie services for $50 a month, drawing a slew of postpaid users from carriers like T-Mobile USA. “The macroeconomic conditions are certainly having an impact on people’s pocketbook,” says Matt Carter, president of Boost Mobile. “They want things that are affordable, and people are looking for more predictability.”

John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS, expects the unlimited prepaid segment to garner 36% of the wireless industry’s total new subscribers in 2009, from 18% in 2008. That means “postpaid subscriber growth will likely slow more than the overall market,” Hodulik wrote in a recent note. That blow to postpaid subscriber growth comes at a bad time. The industry’s overall growth has already slowed to a crawl, and carriers are expected to add only about 10 million new subscribers to their current stable of 272 million users this year.

Price competition is yet another concern. There are rumors that T-Mobile USA is about to start offering low-cost voice plans to existing customers who’ve used the service for more than 22 months. The plans are likely designed to slow customer exodus to prepaid offerings from rivals. “T-Mobile won’t comment on test market activities,” the company said in a statement. But if made nationwide, the offering could potentially push down other carriers’ prices.

There may be a thin silver lining for wireless carriers in the current dismal climate. As consumers try to cut costs, many are dropping their landlines and office lines and going completely wireless. Gartner recently forecast that cell phones will replace many office phones in North America by 2011. “Even though we are feeling some impact, we are still a necessity,” Sprint Nextel’s Hesse says.

Kharif is a senior writer for BusinessWeek.com in Portland, Ore.

MWC: Innovators February 19, 2009

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GSMA announced the winners of the Global Mobile Awards. Congrats to all. While each of the awards were well deserved, two stand out for me

Best Mobile Advertising Service – Turkcell – Tonla Kazan

When I was in Vienna late last year, the presentation that Evrim from Turkcell gave, convinced me that this is something special and should be considered as a good case study by operators worldwide.

Best Mobile Handset or Device: INQ – INQ1

Last year, at GigaOM conference, I moderated the carrier panel in which Frank Meehan, the current CEO of INQMobile participated. He was at the time with 3 UK, being the person behind the Skype phone and his enthusiasm for mobile Internet was obvious. Soon after that panel, he launched INQ focused on mobile web, social mobile, and the like. Essentially, they tapped into the hottest trend in mobile web today. While traditional handset makers were focused on copying iPhone, INQ came into the market very focused. You will see many more social mobile phone and INQ will have to keep innovating but kudos to Frank and team for the award.


Best Mobile Game
Winner: Gameloft – Real Football 2009
– Highly Commended: Digital Chocolate – AvaPeeps: FlirtNation

Best Mobile Music or Video Service
Winner: BBC iPlayer on Mobile

Best Mobile TV Service
Winner: MobiTV – MobiTV

Best Mobile Enterprise Product or Service
Winner: Vodafone – Vodafone Global Enterprise Limited

Best Mobile Internet Service
Winner: Nokia – Nokia Sports Tracker

Best Mobile Money Service
Winner: Safaricom and Vodafone – M-PESA

Best Broadcast Commercial
Winner: KT Freetel – ‘Show is…’

Best Mobile Brand Campaign
Winner: R/GA London – Nokia Urbanista Diaries

Best Use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development
Winner: Nuance Communications – Airtel-T9 India Consumer Vernacular Messaging Campaigns

Best Network Technology Advance
Winner: Nokia Siemens Networks – Flexi Multimode BTS Software defined HSPA/LTE

Best Service Delivery Platform
Winner: NewBay Software – LifeCache Social Networking Solution 2.0

Best Billing & Customer Care Solution
Winner: Expert System – COGITO Answers

Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough
Winner: RIM – BlackBerry Storm 9500 SurePress Screen

The Green Mobile Award
Winner: Smart Communications – Alternative Power for Cell Sites program

GSMA’s CEO Award for Outstanding Environmental Contribution
Winner: Nokia

Government Leadership Award
Winner: The Government of France

GSMA Chairman’s Award
Winner: Research in Motion (RIM)

Mobile Innovation Global Award Champion Named
The EMEA leg and final stage of the 2009 Mobile Innovation Global Award Competition also took place this week at the Mobile World Congress, where 15 nominees competed in five categories for the chance to pitch their innovative products and services against finalists from the Asia, Americas and Virtual legs of the competition for the title of 2009 Mobile Innovation Global Award Champion.


Winner: Cootek, China (Most Innovative Wireless Device-centric Technology)


Global Finalist: Advanced Receiver Technologies, USA
Global Finalist: Intivation, Netherlands

And the five category winners are:
Most Innovative Wireless Device-centric Technology

Most Innovative Carrier Infrastructure or Platform

Most Innovative Mobile Application in a Vertical Market

Most Innovative Consumer Application or Service

Most Innovative True Mobile Start-Up

MWC: News Bits February 18, 2009

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MWC: News Bits February 17, 2009

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MWC: Universal Charger, someone is thinking about consumers

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Finally! Kudos to all involved.

The GSMA and 17 leading mobile operators and manufacturers today announced that they are committed to implementing a cross-industry standard for a universal charger for new mobile phones. The aim of the initiative, led by the GSMA, is to ensure that the mobile industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections and energy-efficient chargers resulting in an estimated 50 per cent reduction in standby energy consumption, the potential elimination of up to 51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers1 and the enhancement of the customer experience by simplifying the charging of mobile phones.

The group has set an ambitious target that by 2012 a universal charging solution (UCS) will be widely available in the market worldwide and will use Micro-USB as the common universal charging interface. The group agreed that by the 1st January 2012, the majority of all new mobile phone models available will support a universal charging connector and the majority of chargers shipped will meet the high efficiency targets set out by the OMTP (Open Mobile Terminal Platform), the industry body who developed the technical requirements behind UCS.

MWC: GSMA initiative – RCS February 16, 2009

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Another good GSMA initiative worth tracking. The GSMA recently issued the first technical specification for RCS, defining the feature set for the first version of the service and ensuring that vendors will be able to develop standard, interoperable implementations. The specification outlines the requirements for features including:

· Enhanced Address Book – provides presence and capability indications, enables users to initiate communications including voice calls, video calls, file transfers or messaging, and allows users to integrate multimedia elements, such as photos of contacts.

· Rich Call – enables users to exchange different types of content, such as video or photos, during a call.

· Rich Messaging – expands on traditional instant messaging to simplify and unify multiple messaging mediums and provide a richer user experience.

Future releases will include providing RCS functionality on other platforms such as PCs, offering a seamless user experience across PCs and mobiles.

The GSMA today reported significant progress in the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) Initiative, a service providing interoperable, enriched communication capabilities such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management, all accessible through a user’s mobile phone contact list.

More information on the RCS initiative is available at www.gsmworld.com/rcs.

MWC: News Bits

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MWC: GSMA’s Mobile Advertising Initiative

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GSMA has been an active body for the mobile carriers esp. outside US. On Monday, he GSMA and a task force comprising Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile International and 3, today unveiled the results of a feasibility study examining mobile audience metrics that will enable media and advertising agencies, brands and publishers to deliver better mobile advertising campaigns. The study, part of the GSMA’s Mobile Media Metrics programme, has created a measurement process for mobile browsing that respects the privacy of mobile users and provides rich planning information for the media and advertising communities.

The results of the study, based on a sample of anonymised data from UK mobile operators, reveal that operator sites continue to command the largest audiences, with 68% of UK mobile users visiting operator portals. Google is the top off-portal destination and Facebook is the top mobile site by time spent browsing, with other social networking sites featuring strongly. In addition to the top sites, a total of 167,648 mobile Internet sites have been measured during the feasibility study.

Top Mobile Sites vs. Top Internet Sites, December 2008
UK Mobile Phone Users (sample of UK Operators) and UK Internet Users*
   Top 10 Mobile Sites                     Top 10 PC Internet Sites
1  Mobile Operator Sites                   Google Sites
2  Google Sites                            Microsoft Sites
3  Facebook.com                            Yahoo! Sites
4  Yahoo! Sites                            Facebook.com
5  BBC Sites                               EBay
6  Apple Inc. Sites                        BBC Sites
7  Microsoft Sites                         AOL (inc. Bebo)
8  Sony Online (inc. Sony Ericsson)        Amazon Sites
9  Nokia                                   Ask Network
10 AOL (inc. Bebo)                         Wikimedia Foundation

Source: GSMA Mobile Media Metrics; comScore Media Metrix (PC data)

The output of the GSMA’s Mobile Media Metrics programme will allow brands, publishers and agencies access to rich, aggregated user behaviour data, enabling comparison with other media. For example, mobile users accessing Facebook spend an average of 24 minutes per day on the site, similar to the 27.5 minutes spent by PC users. Mobile users on Facebook averaged 3.3 visits per day versus 2.3 visits per day by PC users.

Mobile is used consistently throughout the whole day, but the early morning (7-10am) is the key day part for mobile, accounting for 22% of total mobile minutes browsed, compared with only 11% of total minutes browsed by PC Internet users in the same day part. Mobile can therefore act as an extension to media such as the Internet and TV, while it reinforces other early morning media, such as radio and newspapers.

The real value comes in the combination of aggregated site popularity and user behaviour data with independently collected demographic information, which enables more effective targeting of campaigns. Mobile is confirmed as a strong youth medium with 48 per cent of users between 18-34 years old, compared to 40 per cent for the fixed Internet and 29 per cent for the TV audience (source: BMRB’s TGI). Mobile is also more skewed towards men, who represent 63 per cent of total users compared with 53 per cent for the fixed Internet.

US carriers should take a close look at this initiative and learn. Will this work together be enough to stave off Google?

The rise of the Facebook phones February 15, 2009

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We are entering a new era of mobile devices where applications might define the brand of the mobile phones. When was the last time you remembered a phone by an application, probably, Skype Phone launched by 3 UK. 3 UK again showed off its innovation colors by spinning off INQ to launch a “Facebook Phone.” Well, now at MWC, we are likely to see a number of announcements which will be along the same lines. The battle ground for all these new generation of app phones is the control over the “address book” which I have long said is one app which is used the most but where innovation has been lacking the most. Address book is the starting point for most communication on the mobile phone today. With the likes of Facebook integration, the address book is taken to the next step. Of course, there will be a tighter integration of the address book and the Facebook app.

So, what’s next? Myspace phone, Twitter phone, iTunes phone … err we already got that one nailed ..

Steve Ballmer’s speech on economy – a must read February 12, 2009

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Mark Anderson over at SNS posted Steve Ballmer’s speech on economy to the Democrats. He is the only CEO of a major company who is talking about the fundamental reset of the US (global) economy. Thanks Mark.

Is Kindle the new iPhone? February 10, 2009

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Amazon is slowly but surely trying own the eBook market and has done well with its cautious Kindle launch. However, to have the platform universally adopted, there are still a number of short comings and challenges.

Price – It is still $160 overpriced. Not a mass market device just yet.

Book economics – There will be resistance from the publishers – the reach of the platform is not there so they are making it up in volumes

Beyond CDMA – To have a global subscriber base, amazon needs GSM variants quickly

Apple – iReader could blow out Amazon off the market if it doesn’t secure the market quickly

Google – They are getting the content digitized, they have the OS, they have the OEM partnerships, they have the biggest reach available to mankind, they have the analytics, they can deliver a knock-out blow

Amazon IMHO is making the classic market-reach miscalculation. They should go aggressive in seeding the market with the device and make money on the downloads. The bigger reach will enable them to experiment with some really interesting advertising business models as well.

New Kindle on the way February 7, 2009

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Monday is the release date.

image (Source: Mobileread)

Looks sleek. But $359 in this economy will be a drag. I wish my iPhone can turn into Kindle on demand with a press of a touch.

Best Bill Gates Talk February 6, 2009

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