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Mobile Industry Predictions 2009 January 1, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Gaming, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Privacy, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

Mobile Industry Predictions 2009

http://www.chetansharma.com/MobilePredictions2009.htm

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First things first. From all of us at Chetan Sharma Consulting, wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous 2009.

Before we get into what’s to come, let’s do a quick wrap-up of the year that was.

While 2007 was remembered as “the year of the iPhone,” in 2008, though iPhone and Appstore again dominated the headlines as “Touch” became the new black, iPhone shared the spotlight with Android and the resurgent RIM. The deafening roar of “Openness” that started to bubble up during Q407 permeated the ecosystem in 2008. Responding to the iPhone, OEMs raced to introduce Touch phones - Instinct, Armani, Storm, N2, Glimmer, Vu, G1, Diamond, Dare, N97, 5800, and others.

Apple reached its 10M goal a full quarter early and Gphone’s 1M number was impressive. The Clearwire deal was consummated though it meanders through the clouds of uncertainty. Blyk continued to defy expectations. We made significant headway in energizing the mobile advertising sub segment but the tough problems of privacy, education, control, fragmentation, and user experience remain. LBS picked up steam and mobility started to get into the alternate consumer device universe which with the help of Amazon kindle and PNDs have started a new chain of AORTA devices.

In terms of actual numbers, the mobile industry exceeded 1 Trillion USD in revenues for the first time with services revenue making up 80% of the mix and 20% being contributed by infrastructure, handsets, and misc. Several operators are now exceeding $2B/quarter in data revenues.

Several subscription milestones throughout the year: 50% penetration, almost 4B worldwide, 600M China, 300M India. India and China both added more than 100M subs in 2008. As expected, 3G crossed the inflection point in the western markets (30%+ penetration) while in Korea and Japan, it was getting hard to find people without 3G (85%+ penetration). Mobile web penetration is above 25% and is becoming quite significant.

Thanks to the iPhone, we seem to have settled on sub-$200 smartphones with race to $150 and $100 on the cards. Flat-rate data subscriptions went above 10% in the western markets. Over 20% of the global service revenues are not dependent on data while non-SMS revenues surged past 40%. With the advent of Femto and UMA, we might see a new front in the battle for the digital home, esp. as bundling and quad-play offers become common place and convergence starts to take different shapes, forms, and business models. Carriers are starting to worry about mobile data usage and looking for alternate strategies and business models. Chinese OEMs started to become more dominant and started to win some major accounts. Don’t be surprised by a major acquisition by them in 09.

Among other events of significance: Mobile TV continued to suffer from highpricendititis, Helio shut down, China and India delayed 3G, WM got updated as MS got behind, Yahoo cemented some impressive operator deals as GYM got more active in mobile, Microsoft entangled Yahoo in a mating dance, Mobile Open got into the industry physce, 700 MHz auction drama ensued, Beijing Olympics rocked, SMS handed the presidency to Obama, Whitespaces and FCC tangled, LTE dominated, UMB died, Admob exponentiated, M&A slowed, IP scuffles continued, over 1.2B new devices shipped, Nokia sold more than 100M devices in each quarter, Samsung surged, Motorola pondered, AT&T iJoyed, Vodafone said Namaste India, US edged past Japan in mobile data revenues, DoCoMo continued to dominate the mobile data revenues rankings, India edged past US in total mobile subscribers, Mobile Facebook spread, Twitter tweeped, Symbian went open source, Sequoia panicked, INQ launched, Economy tanked, WalMart started selling iPhone, Palm got a lifeline, Change was in the air.

We covered these is much detail in our regular industry research notes, books, whitepapers, blog posts, speeches, panels, and more. Look forward to continuing the conversation this year.

2009 will also be a pretty eventful year from several perspectives: business models, user experience and expectations, ecosystem posturing, disruption, and friction. How are things going to shape up? What will be hot and what will fade into oblivion? How will competition shape up the new sub-segments?

We put some of the questions to our colleagues in the industry. We were able to glean some valuable insights from their choices and comments. This survey is different from some of the others in the sense that industry movers and shakers participate. Executives and insiders (n=200) from leading mobile companies across the value chain and around the world opined to help us see what 2009 might bring.

Six names were randomly drawn for one of our three books released in 2008 (Mobile Advertising, Enterprise Mobility and Wireless Broadband)

The winners are:

  1. Akio Orii, CFO and VP, Toyota

  2. Declan Carew, New Product Strategy Manager, Vodafone

  3. Helen Keegan, Consultant, Beep Marketing

  4. Rich Begert, CEO, Singlepoint, and

  5. Russ McGuire, VP, Sprint Nextel

  6. Jonathan Ebinger, General Partner, Blue Run Ventures

Congrats and Thank You.

Now onto the survey results.  The makeup of the respondents below:

survey1

survey2

Will we see a pull-back in mobile data spending globally/in the US?

survey3

The wireless data industry has been somewhat unharmed so far (though OEMs and Infrastructure providers are bearing the brunt of the economic storm). Flat rate pricing, smartphones, 3G networks, better UX are all helping in the continued surge of mobile data consumption and hence revenues. Most expect that though we might see some scaling back in mobile data spending, overall, the growth will continue. The global markets will be slightly better off than the US.

Will Android handset sales exceed iPhone’s in 2009?

survey4

The overwhelming majority thought that iPhone will continue to dominate Android in 2009 though 2010 could be a different story. Android has had a good start and if the number of handsets keep on increasing with more carriers carrying it in more countries, Android might not exceed but can come awfully close.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who will be the most open of them all?

survey6

“OPEN” was the biggest buzzword of 2008 though it means different things to different people. Almost everyone thinks, Google is likely to set the agenda on “open” for others to follow.

Will Apple launch new iPhone models in 2009?

survey5

The answer is yes but will they be just minor upgrades or shake-the-market new models. With Android, Nokia, and RIM breathing down its neck, Apple will need more than just upgrades to maintain the limelight.

Will Mobile Advertising see a rise in ad-spend in 2009?

survey7

There might be some slow down but mobile advertising ad-spend will keep on increasing. Targeting capability is increasing and CPMs are coming down making for a more efficient mobile channel for advertising. In our own work, we have seen brands fall into two camps: one who are scaling down on inefficient channels like print and radio and moving money into digital including mobile and the others who don’t have quite the appetite for mobile and want to keep investing in channels that they are most familiar with.

Will India and China launch nationwide 3G in 2009?

survey8

After many years of delay, the two powerhouses set to launch 3G in 2009. China with TD-SCDMA/WCDMA and India with WCDMA are set to doll out some of the largest contracts seen in the industry.

Will Mobile Payments get any traction in North America and Western Europe?

survey9

The plans for mobile payments launch will get pulled back a bit due to the economic crisis. Limited rollouts and trials to continue. Some progress will be made in international mobile remittances.

Will Microsoft launch its own mobile phone?

survey10

Will they, Won’t they? How can they not? The probability increased from last year for an Mphone coming to a store near you. But, with the boeingification of Microsoft, it is hard to get any decisions to the market quickly.

Will Clearwire meet the 1.3 million subscriber target in 2009?

survey13

The economic climate might force slow-down of expansion and thus the optimistic subscriber forecasts could be impacted.

Will Mobile Open Source mitigate fragmentation?

survey14

Not a clear cut answer. Depends on how other versions of Android phones do in the market and if the application development remains a challenge across the Android and Symbian family of devices.

Will cable companies make a major play in wireless in 2009?

survey15

Quad-Play is the name of the game. Cable companies have invested half-heartedly thus far. 2009 might be the year they move in aggressively.

Will Microsoft buy RIM?

survey11

RIM has become too big and powerful to be consumed by Microsoft easily but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Will Obama’s administration have a major impact on network neutrality and open networks debate?

survey16

Not a priority for now. No high expectations, just regular bureaucratic grind.

Will carriers start launching Apple/Android style appstores?

survey17

Opinions remain divided. I think most are tempted to build but will outsource the development.

Will Microsoft make windows mobile free to OEMs?

survey12

Android (and to some extent Symbian) has pushed Microsoft in a corner. Will it preempt the demise of its pricing strategy? Reduction in price might be the safest bet at this time.

Will the smartphone penetration hit the inflection point in the western markets?

survey18

We are getting to that inflection point. 2009 seems to be the year with major implications for the ecosystem.

Will UMA/Femtocells cement their place in the mobile ecosystem?

survey20

As 3G networks get burdened by data usage, carriers will look to making UMA and Femtocells as a critical piece of their network strategy

Will consumer privacy and data security rise to be one of the important issues of 2009?

survey19

Privacy? What Privacy? Another celebrity mishap might pull this issue to the front burner.

Despite conventional wisdom, what will not happen in 2009?

There were many. Sampling - Microsoft will not buy Yahoo. US Cellular will not be sold. Global economy will not recover in 2009. LTE won’t be commercially deployed. India and China will struggle to get substantial progress with 3G. Motorola will not breakup. Nortel will not disappear. 2009 won’t be the year of mobile advertising.

It is hard to cover the mobile industry in 20 questions. As pointed out by our panelists, there are a number of other issues and opportunities that will help shape our ecosystem - monetization of social networks, the fight for mobile advertising dollars, continued impact of globalization, security and privacy, NFC, IMS, VoIP, enterprise apps beyond email, battery improvements, new interaction modalities, health risks of RF radiation, OpenSocial, GF/FB Connect, Comes with Music, Mobile Widgets, Mobile 3.0, LTE, MIDs, Off-portal, Embedded Mobile, M2M, and others.

However, be rest assured, we will be tracking these and much more throughout the year and sharing them through various channels.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. We will be calling on you again next year. We are clearly living in “interesting times” with never a dull moment in our dynamic industry. It has been a terrific year for us here at Chetan Sharma Consulting and we are looking forward to 2009 and seeing many of you along the way.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Global Wireless Data Market Update - 1H 2008 September 28, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Gaming, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

 

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http://www.chetansharma.com/globalmarketupdate1H08.htm

Global Wireless Markets continued to grow rapidly especially in India and China where the carriers are adding over 9M new subscriptions every month. India crossed the 300M subscription mark in Aug while China whizzed past 600M in September. Overall, the global subscriptions penetration edged past 50%. During the 1H 2008, revenues further tilted towards data services. The overall global mobile revenues (including equipment) for the year are likely to reach the 1 Trillion dollar landmark later this year (enough to bailout an economy or two), with approximately $800 billion attributed to service revenues. Data revenues now account for almost 20% of the global service revenues.

For some leading operators, data is now contributing close to 40% of the revenues however increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU for most operators. From the true and tested SMS messaging to the new services such as Mobile Advertising, Social Networking, Commerce, Mobile Wallet, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated for 1H 2008. Japan remains the envy of the global markets and the nation to study and learn from w.r.t. new services and applications. The US market expanded its lead over Japan in mobile data service revenues for the year and is unlikely to cede ground in the months to come.

Buoyed by the global launch of iPhone, Apple is likely to eclipse the 10M goal in Q308. Its App-Store launch along with Android’s imminent arrival dominated the news. Other manufacturers also introduced challengers to iPhone, most notably, Instinct by Samsung on the Sprint network which has also been quite successful in getting users to engage in data services.

WiMAX vs. LTE debate took over the EV-DO vs. WCDMA chatter and while majority of the industry is consolidating around LTE; open-platform advocates are watching the arrival of WiMAX in the US with great interest. Google, Sprint, Motorola, TWC, Comcast and others put new life into the experiment called Clearwire.

Chetan Sharma Consulting conducted its semiannual study on the global mobile data industry. We studied wireless data trends in over 40 major countries - from developed and mature markets such as Japan, Korea, UK, and Italy to hyper growth markets such as China and India.

This note summarizes the findings from the research with added insights from our work in various global markets.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

New Book: Enterprise Mobility: Applications, Technologies and Strategies August 24, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, IP, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Networks, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

IKSMCover-s

Enterprise Mobility: Applications, Technologies and Strategies

IOS Press

Chapter Contribution

“Enterprise mobile product strategy using scenario planning”

SAMIMUNEER (SAP) and CHETANSHARMA

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http://www.chetansharma.com/enterprise_mobility_scenario_planning.htm

Each year, we work on strategies and product plans for our clients around the world that end up touching millions of consumers worldwide and do behind-the-scenes research, due-diligence, and analysis work on several critical deals and transactions that move our industry forward. But, rarely do we talk or write about them, due to obvious reasons.

However, last year, I got an opportunity to briefly write about some of the strategy work. On the request of Dr. Basole at Georgia Tech, my colleague Sami Muneer (Sr. Director, Enabling Solutions at SAP – responsible for all things mobile) and I drew from some of the long-term strategy and product planning work we had done for SAP to put together a paper on “Enterprise mobile product strategy using scenario planning.” SAP is the leading global enterprise player and their view of the world is both comprehensive and long-term. It was a privilege to work with their global team on the project.

Our paper is being published as a chapter in the just released book “Enterprise Mobility: Applications, Technologies and Strategies” (IOS Press, Amsterdam. 272 pages, Editor R. Basole, 2008) as part of The Tennenbaum Institute Series on Enterprise Systems. The chapter is also being published in the special issue of peer-reviewed International Knowledge Systems Management (IKSM) journal published by Georgia Tech.

The book is a collection of 13 chapters from academics and practitioners in enterprise mobility. I often use scenario planning techniques when doing long-term strategic assessment and forecasting. In this chapter, we hope to provide a framework for scenario planning in mobile that can go across verticals, applications, and services.

You can download the chapter here.

IKSM is making available all the chapters online (for free) if you register for a free one year subscription.

For those interested in reading the paper copy can order the book here.

Book Introduction

As the number of enterprises using mobile ICT increases, it becomes imperative to have a more complete understanding of what value and impact enterprise mobility has, what drives and enables it, and in what ways it can and will transform the nature and practices of work, organizational cultures, business processes, supply chains, enterprises, and potentially entire markets. Enterprise mobility is therefore a topic of great interest to both scholars and practitioners. Enterprise Mobility: Researching a new paradigm aims to contribute to and extend both our theoretical and practical understanding of enterprise mobility by exploring the necessary strategic, technological, and economic considerations, adoption and implementation motivators and inhibitors, usage contexts, social implications, human-centered design issues, support requirements, and transformative impacts. The main objective is to discuss applications, technologies, strategies, theories, frameworks, contexts, case studies, and analyses that provide insights into the growing reality of enterprise mobility for scholars and practicing managers. This volume contains thirteen articles from leading scholars and practitioners and includes an examination of the changing nature of work, work practices, and the work environment; a discussion of critical enablers of enterprise mobility; authors exploring strategic considerations; and insightful case studies of enterprise mobility across multiple domains. Together, the articles explore enterprise mobility across the entire continuum.

Enterprise mobile product strategy using scenario planning

Author(s): Sami Muneer and Chetan Sharma

The Mobile industry is changing at a rapid pace and so is the behavior of enterprise workforce which uses mobile technologies. When planning for a long-term product roadmap, one has to consider a myriad of evolution trends and forecasts to determine the probable list of product functionality and their introduction timing in the lifecycle of the product. One has to look at the technology trends by market, the competitive landscape, and the mobile worker adoption trends. However, one can only come up with a prioritized list of capabilities by taking into context the company’s own core competencies, skill sets, and overall mission. This paper looks at how mobile product companies can use scenario-planning methodology to formulate their product strategy and roadmap.

The listing of the chapters is as follows:

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

The Larry Weber Show: Mobile Advertising and Wireless Technology August 5, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, Carriers, European Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

The legendary Larry Weber interviewed me for his Show “MarketEdge with Larry Weber.” It is live now over at Webmaster Radio. The topic of discussion was of course “Mobile Advertising and its implications to the mobile ecosystem.”

Enjoy!

 

Mobile Advertising & Wireless Technology
Chetan Sharma on Mobile Advertising, the topic of his new book called Wireless Broadband Technology: Conflict and Convergence

Show Host: Larry Weber
Show: Market Edge

Channel: Internet Marketing

 

2008 in review - revisiting annual predictions July 31, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, Carriers, Intellectual Property, MVNO, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

At the turn of the year, we asked a number of industry insiders to opine on upcoming trends for 2008. Below is the summary of survey. Full results here.

sresults1

sresults2

Perhaps, it is time to revisit. Updated comments in italics.

1. Will Google introduce a Google Branded Phone in 2008?

Will it? Wont it? 44.5% gave it a 75% or higher chance of happening while 40% thought it aint happening. GPhone is a temptation Google will find hard to resist though a lot will depend on how various initiatives and partnerships shape-up on the ground. In any case, expect another major announcement in the next 2-3 months.

Opinions were mixed. Given the problems with the ecosystem, delay in launch, and unclear business models, while the probability of GPhone launch has gone up, chances for a 2008 launch remain low. Google would want the ecosystem to give it a shot before deciding to compete with them.

2. Will Google play to win in the 700MHz Spectrum Auction?

Google has played the spectrum chess game effectively. Almost 50% respondents gave it a 75% or higher chance of Google winning the bid. Though expectations are high, Google is unlikely to play to win. Services business is not their cup of tea, they could still fund the Clearwire-Sprint deal but that investment can be spent differently to get better end-results, i.e. mobile ad revenue.

We didn’t believe that Google is playing the game to win, only wanted to be an irritant to his fellow brethren. As expected, they funded the Clearwire-Sprint deal.

3. Will Microsoft launch its own mobile phone?

Unless Google comes out with GPhone, Microsoft will stay content with its operator distribution strategy. 63% of respondents gave it less than a 25% chance of Microsoft releasing their own phone. If GPhone comes out and gets some traction, expect Microsoft to get its fast follower strategy into high gear.

I think Microsoft is taking a “wait and see” approach on this one and is likely to come out with something once GPhone is out. Remember Zune.

4. Will Mobile Payments get traction in North America and Western Europe?

Only 9% thought it is a sure bet for 2008. True mobile commerce hasnt really started in the western world. While there are significant movements, 2008 will just be a lay the groundwork year for mobile payments.

Even from “laying the ground work” point of view, we seem to be behind. Number of trials and activity though, expect to see some noticeable launches in first half of 2009.

5. Will WiMAX regroup from its setbacks?

Only 35% gave it a 75% or higher chance (of WiMAX resurrecting itself esp. in the US in 2008). A lot depends on how Mr. Hesse deals with Sprints WiMAX business. Indications are there will be a deal with Clearwire to off-load the risks via some external investment (Google?).

Well, Mr. Hesse dealt his hand and now all eyes are on Mr. McCaw - can he deliver?

6. Will Helio survive 2008?

Almost 70% respondents thought Helio wont make it. Given the flameout of some of the prominent new-generation MVNOs, it is hard to see how Helio will see 2009. It will all come down to how persistent is SK Telecom. Earthlink doesnt have the bank balance to keep funding this initiative.

Well, majority thought, Helio won’t be around and SKT realized it too and sold the unit to Virgin Mobile. At least, it didn’t have to file chapter 11.

7. Will Verizon truly open-up its garden for third-party visitations?

Only 5% thought it is a sure bet for 2008. Verizons open posturing was more to ward off any regulators and to improve its image. There is unlikely to be any meaningful progress on this front this year.

Hardly anyone thought that VZ is serious and not much has happened on that front just yet.

8. Will 2008 be the inflection year for Mobile Advertising?

42% gave Mobile Advertising a 75% or higher chance for rapid growth. Market will mature, more consolidation, some privacy gaffes but overall things are looking up for mobile advertising.

There is definitely growth in the Mobile Advertising segment. Inflection point is in the eyes of the beholder. I say, we will make pretty good progress this year but mobile ad spend will still be < 1% of the overall mix. Still lots of foundation work need to be done by the industry. Almost every serious carrier, advertiser, agency, middleware, online player is involved in mobile advertising and it is just a matter of time before things get sorted out.

9. Will Femto-Cells gain any significant momentum in 2008?

It will be an introduction and experimentation year, so no significant traction is expected. Over 52% thought Femto-Cells will be just a buzz word in 2008.

Well, Sprint launched Femto-Cells but it will be a while before they become pervasive.

10. Will Nokia be able to extract iPhone-style rev-share from carriers in 2008?

Less than 20% thought Nokia will be able to do an Apple when it comes to rev-share arrangements. For OEMs, going direct to the consumers was considered treachery to the sacrosanct relationship with the operators. Until Apple showed up with iPhone. Now, Nokia is putting its services strategy in motion and is building a direct relationship with the consumers worldwide and it has a good shot at pulling it off though it will be a long haul.

Given that Apple prudently reversed its business model, the chances of any other OEM extracting iPhone 1.0 type rev-share are going to almost zero.

11. Will Palm survive 2008?

Only 8% gave it a 100% chance of surviving 08 as an independent entity. It will be difficult for Palm to stay in a status-quo mode. They desperately need a hit device that can give them some breathing room.  Given all the operational and strategic problems the company is having, a sale is likely.

Most thought (including yours truly) that Palm will have a difficult time surviving 08. However, with some of its recent launches have put some life back into the company and it might go on for a few more quarters. The problems and challenges are still quite stark.

12. Will iPhone truly open up?

Over 45% thought iPhone wont open-up in any meaningful way. Apple has built-up one of the most profitable closed empires in the digital world. Are they about open things up? While the iPhone SDK is scheduled for early 08, dont hold your breath on accessing the critical native APIs.

Apple’s Appstore is clearly an idea of the best open closed systems out there. If the closed garden is done well with open flowers can flourish. The system still closed but you can access a number of device APIs to make it worthwhile.

13. Will there be more unsubsidized devices introduced in the US market in 2008?

Almost 49% thought we are likely to see another unsubsidized device in the US market this year. Nokia is looking to go direct and some GSM handset manufacturers are likely to entertain the idea of testing the market with unsubsidized devices.

Given that Apple quickly reversed itself with iPhone 3G, we are unlikely to see unsubsidized devices for some time to come.

14. Will Mobile TV move the needle in 2008?

Almost 70% thought mobile TV wont make much of a difference in 08.Though AT&T is slated to introduce MediaFLO to join Verizon in the Mobile TV services market, lack of devices and better pricing models will hinder wide adoption in 2008. However, downloadable video and VOD content will experience significant growth.

Mobile TV remains plagued with unreasonable business models and pricing plans. Until that is fixed, this will remain a niche hobby for most.

15. Will Android make a dent in handset shipments in 2008?

Only 15% gave it a more than 75% chance this year. It is going to take some time for Android plans to mature and materialize. Dont see any material impact in 08.

We didn’t think Android will make progress in 08 beyond some minor launches. Even they seem uncertain and 08 is not their year.

We will do another survey towards the end of the year, look forward to your participation then. Thanks.

3G iPhone today? June 9, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, Carriers, Mobile Content, Mobile TV, US Wireless Market , add a comment

In all likelihood, King Jobs will be unveiling the 3G iPhone today. Given the user behavior on iPhone, almost any company involved in mobile data and value added services has built an app for the phone even though the subscriber base is limited. The reason is user experience - many times better than anything else available in the market. Like this new service called vSNAX from Rhythm New Media - a mobile advertising company.

vSNAX_video_controls_Rhythm NewMedia

(Source: Rhythm New Media)

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q1 2008 May 18, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, M&A, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q1 2008

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http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq108.htm

The US wireless data market grew 38% in Q108 compared to Q107 to reach $7.5B in data revenues. iPhone is not only having an impact on data revenues but also on device design, mobile advertising roadmaps, and applications and services that are being contemplated for future. US exceeded Japan in mobile data service revenues for the quarter and the market is expected to reach $34B in data revenues in 2008.

Global update

          More details in our worldwide wireless data market update in our Global Wireless Data Market   Update Mar 2008.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

CTIA Wireless 2008 Roundup April 4, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

CTIA Wireless 2008 Roundup

http://www.chetansharma.com/ctiawireless.htm

The Sin City hosted CTIA Wireless 2008 earlier this week. On Wednesday morning, just before leaving for the convention center, I caught some portion of Ben Bernankes congressional testimony on the US economy woes. Few minutes later, strolling the show floor, talking to various companies, and hearing the keynotes, it seemed like I was on a different planet. Either someone failed to deliver the memo or the wireless industry is resilient enough to weather the turmoil in the financial and housing markets with some ease. The show was bigger with more attendees, the booths were returning to their glamorous heydays of the past, and the general buzz and energy at the show all seem to indicate the industry is going to do just fine and is primed for further growth. The general themes were around open network and access, user experience, and bandwidth.

This note summarizes our impressions from the show.

CTIA Wireless in Pictures

First lets do the numbers: CTIA released their semi-annual statistics on the US market. In summary: For 2007, $23B in data revenues, 2 trillion in MOU, $139B in total service revenues, 48B txt messages/month. (We released our US Market and Global Market updates last month)

Keynotes: In terms of style, Sir Richard Branson stole the show with his pompous exuberance and pep talk (the talk of imaginary flight to Mars was hilarious; investors in Microgin and Viroo must be upset). For substance, Marco Boerries, President, Yahoo Mobile gave a nice compact overview of Yahoo initiatives and products in the market which are pretty darn good. (Marco wrote an opinion piece for our Mobile Advertising Book The future of Advertising is in the Consumers Pockets). Yahoo has sewn together a number of deals worldwide that gives them a potential reach of over 600M users.

Vodafone is one operator which has been quite vocal in stating its positions on future infrastructure roadmap and data opportunities. Arun Sarin is probably the only CEO of major global operator who has publicly stated that Mobile Advertising will constitute a significant portion of their revenues in the coming days (Aruns point person on the initiative Richard Saggers also wrote an opinion piece for our book Opportunities for Mobile Advertising. Let me know if you are interested in reading these two opinion pieces).

Microsofts Robbie Bach had the tough task of following the Branson-fest. He announced the arrival of a full-blown browser (finally!) for windows mobile. Also, the new windows mobile device from Sony Ericsson (Xperia) looks pretty darn cool. FCC Chairman Martin announced the rejection of Skype petition on the carterphone principle (to Skypes dismay, it was not an April fools joke). Clearly, the definition of open is in the eye of the beholder. It means different things to different people. It has also been clear from the various activities and keynotes that the industry is trying its utmost to remain a Self-regulated industry and stay away from the clutches of eager politicians.

Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless conducted a panel with CEOs from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Nortel and probed them on the 4G migration path, trends in applications and services, and contrasts in adoption and introduction of new technology in various parts of the world. Final day was marked by what is now becoming a trend - keynotes from politicians. This time around Sen. Edwards and Sen. Thompson graced the podium.

Mobile Advertising: In talking with numerous players in the value chain from small developers to large operators to ad networks to media companies, the impression was that things have matured over the last six months. It was gratifying to hear that some companies are adopting strategies and recommendations we propose in our book. Still, some of the basic problems remain majority of the inventory remain unsold indicating weak demand, CPM rates are still over-rated though they are starting to come down, and fragmentation continues to remain an issue.

The good news is that the size of the mobile campaign budgets are getting bigger with several seven figure RFPs floating around. While some companies are still trying to throw a lot at the wall in the hope that something sticks, others are maturing as companies and are more focused in their positioning and product roadmaps. Integration of various channels is starting to appear on the horizon and the integration with the publishers is becoming tighter. The issue of measurement and auditing standards remains a big issue and unfortunately not much progress to report. There are carrier initiatives and various industry bodies are taking the challenge to rally the ecosystem, but, frankly, consolidation of such efforts is necessary, we cant afford yet another layer of fragmentation in an already complex ecosystem.

We were interviewed on Mobile Advertising prior to the show by several publications. Some of the articles were published this week to coincide with CTIA

Wireless Wave (CTIA) Moving Targets: Mobile marketing reaches consumers on their terms by Lynn Thorne

BrandWeek Mobile Marketing Fantasy vs. Reality by Ken Hein

Wall Street Journal Personalized promotions: Sending the right ads to your phone Peggy Anne Salz

NFC: There were many more NFC-enabled devices on display this time and vendors were talking and demoing NFC and Biometrics based payment solutions. While there are handsets on the roadmap, this market is still very nascent in North America and Western Europe.

Inspiration: The inspiration for new and creative services still comes (at least for yours truly) from Japan (and Korea). I love spending time in DoCoMos booth for it gives a glimpse into whats to come. No other company better understands the development of devices, services and applications that overlay on lifestyles than DoCoMo (e.g. a wellness handset that is a pedometer, heart rate monitor, body and bad breath monitor and yes, you can make voice calls too). They view wireless air-interfaces as nothing more than enablers to solutions that enhance daily lives. Various device manufacturers also displayed some really cool devices. The quality and diversity of handsets that have been introduced into the global markets over the last four quarters is just astonishing. The cycle of innovation and time-to-market keeps on accelerating.

Femto Cells: A number of players like Airwalk, Airvana, and others are bringing Femto cell solutions to the market and carriers are starting to pull this into their strategy as well and look forward to deployments beyond the trials.

4G: LTE vs. WiMAX (vs. UMB): Since the decision of Vodafone and Verizon to support LTE, UMB has been disappearing from the discussion. The 4G discussion is convulsing around LTE and WiMAX now (though Nortel did indicate its support TD-SCDMA as a 4G candidate). Without a doubt the operator community is rallying behind LTE and there might be an opportunity to finally converge to a single standard (havent we seen this movie before) but frankly, the advances in silicon to integrate multiple radios has made the standards debate less relevant. WiMAX has forced acceleration of LTE standardization process but is starting to lose its time (and cost) advantage. All eyes are on Sprints XOHM business rollouts in the coming days and months.

Accessories: I have never seen so many accessory and reseller outfits at a CTIA show. Business must be booming.

Best Booth: Thought there were several good layouts, LG and Samsung continue to impress with their creativity and art of marketing.

Developer and Publisher woes: Along with John Philips (Astraware) and Peter Baldwin (Cellmania), I helped facilitate a few developer session at the Mobile Jam Session organized by WIP. The issues of distribution, discovery, and monetization remain challenging for the small developers worldwide. Even with million user base, they are finding it difficult to monetize but we did discuss a number of success stories. The core elements of success that emerged from the discussion were: choosing the right market, embedding viral component into everything you throw out there, there is no room for mediocrity, and personalizing and customizing go a long way to get traction. An interesting tidbit: the number of page views for mobile MySpace app is a magnitude higher on off-deck vs. ondeck. Several of the companies are trying mobile advertising with varying degrees of success. After spending 4 hours with the developers, I sat on a carrier panel discussing mobile advertising. The contrast between the two worlds was so apparent. Clearly, more needs to be done to help both sides understand each other a bit better.

Green CTIA: There is a stronger emphasis on recycling and contributing to save the environment. The show itself is a big resource hog, so every bit helps.

Alternate Mobile Devices: The universe of alternate devices is expanding. Companies are buying wholesale data packages from the operators and integrating broadband chipsets into hardware to do digital signage (ICG), M2M (Sensorlogic), PND and much more. The definition of being mobile keeps on changing.

On Being Open: Obviously, given the recent activity around openness, getting a penny for each time the word was uttered by a speaker would have paid off for a lifetime of CTIA trips. While talk is cheap, demonstrable progress is being made by the likes Yahoo, Apple (btw, 3G iPhone is on its way), and AOL.

Another MVNO experiences turmoil: Movida - a Spanish focused MVNO which has garnered almost 300K subs filed for chapter 11.

Voice is becoming mainstream: With the product launches from Nuance, SpinVox, Vlingo, Jott, Yahoo, and many others, voice based navigation and its tighter integration with data services is becoming mainstream.

Where are the opportunities? Last week, I was moderating a panel with executives from AOL Mobile, T-Mobile, Motricity, and Formotus and the themes that emerged were around platform play, user experience, and productivity. At CTIA, in addition to these areas, there was a lot of discussion around social networking (though the market is being saturated with the MoSo noise). It is also clear that we are moving into the phase of aggregation of fragmentation with initiatives from Yahoo, AOL, and Google dominating the landscape.

Home Screen Effect: I have been talking about using the home screen for driving data usage for the last 8 years. I think we will see good innovation this year on that front starting with Yahoos One Platform. There are several other initiatives in the works where operators and OEMs will be deploying frameworks and technologies to bring information to a click-less idle screen environment.

Overall, no major news but industry stays vibrant, healthy, and exciting.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Global Wireless Data Market Update 2007 March 27, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Networks, Partnership, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 8 comments

Global Wireless Data Market Update 2007

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http://www.chetansharma.com/globalmarketupdate2007.htm

As you read this End of Year (EOY) 2007 Global Wireless Data Market update this week, somewhere in India, a new subscription will catapult India over the US as the number 2 global wireless market. 2007 was a banner year for global wireless data market. The global service revenues for the year touched $700 billion, the data service revenues were more than $120 billion, China signed its 500 millionth subscription, and both India (in feb 08) and the US crossed the 250 million subscription mark. 2007 continued to enhance mobile datas role in the operator ecosystem with approx 17% of the revenue is coming from data services.

For some leading operators, data is now contributing up to 35% of the revenues however increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU. From the true and tested SMS messaging to new services such as Mobile TV, Enterprise apps, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated for 2007. Japan and Korea remain the envy of the global markets and the countries to study and learn from w.r.t. new services and applications. The US market has been steadily making strong comeback and for the first time exceeded Japan in service revenue generated from mobile data.

Chetan Sharma Consulting conducted its semiannual study on the global mobile data industry. We studied wireless data trends in over 40 major countries - from developed and mature markets such as Japan, Korea, UK, and Italy to hyper growth markets such as China and India. This note summarizes the findings from the research.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Recap of Mobile Advertising Events - Stanford and Seattle March 22, 2008

Posted by chetan in : AORTA, ARPU, Carriers, Indian Wireless Market, M&A, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

This week I had the opportunity to moderate two distinguished panels on Mobile Advertising in two days, one at Stanford University and the other one in Seattle. This post summarizes the issues and points discussed during these two sessions.

Stanford University by Mobile Momentum

The first one was part our book tour and was organized by Mobile Momentum, an organization lead by Prof. Tom Kosnik and his student Mohit Gundecha. The event was sponsored by three of the pioneers in Mobile Advertising space - AdInfuse, Admob, and Rhythm New Media. My co-author Victor Melfi and I walked through some of the salient points of our book. We discussed the history of advertising, the digital revolution of the Internet, delved a bit into the definition of mobile advertising, the challenges and accelerators of this nascent industry, pondered over the business models, illustrated some of the successes using the case studies and our five-points framework (reach, engagement, targeting, viral, and transactions), briefly touched on the technology issues and gave our 2c on what it will take for the industry to go from its current state of “cautious optimism” to promise of “contextual nirvana.” Some of the key points were:

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P3203379 P3203373

Our talk was followed by a panel discussion with Ujjal Kohli, CEO, Rhythm New Media, Tony Nethercutt, VP, Admob, and David Staas, VP, AdInfuse. All these guys have had distinguished careers in mobile, advertising, and digital evolution of our industry and hence the depth of knowledge on the panel was just great. Each of them has had successes with campaigns around the world, not just in North America. Admob with its billions of impressions every few weeks has blazed the way in the off-deck world. Rhythm has been quite successful with advertising with mobile video snacking at 3 in UK.

AdInfuse has been running some interesting campaigns in Europe like with Swisscom.They were achieving 8% CTR on WAP banner campaigns, 50% of users who clicked through to the WAP landing page completed a purchase. Recall rates were as high as 27%, more than 80% of the users rated the model of “free video content in return of advertising” positively vs. 2% who didn’t like the idea. Rhythm has also experienced similar numbers with their 3 UK campaigns. It is remarkable that 40% of the subscriber base is using the service and one can still watch the ad subsidized videos even if they have run out of prepaid minutes. The reach provided by Admob to its advertisers is phenomenal. Coca-cola’s campaign touched 125 countries. We cover Rhythm’s and Admob’s case studies in more detail in our book as well.

We touched on a wide variety of topics and I was struck by something that Ujjal said. He was previously CMO of AirTouch Cellular so brings in a very unique perspective to the table. He said, “For the carrier, No amount of Mobile Advertising Revenue is worth the risk of losing a customer.” The issues around privacy, customer satisfaction, customer care costs are critical for an operator to assess as they dive deeper into this new emerging medium.

There are a number of developers who are interested in exploiting the opportunity of mobile advertising but don’t want to deal with the complexity of the ecosystem and ad networks. There is an opportunity for some of the existing players to open up the APIs to broaden the reach.

Seattle by TiE

Next day, TiE Seattle organized a panel discussing “Mobile Advertising: Making the most of the next generation in advertising.” The panelists were Scott Silk, CEO, ActionEngine, Brian Lent, CEO, Medio Systems, Eric Hertz, CEO, Zumobi, Jeff Giard, Director, Alltel, and Jason Guenther, Director, Disney. Again, a pretty diverse panel representing various players in the value chain.

I started by probing the panelists on how we go about defining “Mobile Advertising.” Brian, not surprisingly, thought Mobile Search is going to take a lion share of the revenues just like how things evolved in the online world. Eric and Scott articulated their view around On-Device Portals, Widgets, and User Experience. Action Engine has been having good success with many of the large media brands such as MSNBC and WSJ while Zumobi has come out with a platform that takes user experience at the center of its strategy.

Though at number 5, Alltel has been introducing innovations quicker than some of its peers. Its Celltop application is yielding significant results with over 400% increase in usage if the application is within Celltop framework. Next, they are going to be putting the Celltop as a Home Screen (Idle Screen) app like what Koreans and Japanese have been doing for some time. It was refreshing for Jeff to right away state that this industry is not going to move forward if we don’t solve the “fragmentation” problem. I have said before that “Fragmentation is the biggest enemy of the mobile industry” and w/o solving the issues of fragmentation at different layers, we won’t get into the hypergrowth mode that will take the industry from $2B today to $20B in five years. Jeff thought that mobile advertising presents significant opportunities for the industry including the carriers but we need to be mindful of the issues around privacy, customer care, and customer satisfaction.

Disney is world’s premier consumer brand and very few companies understand the three screens better than Disney. Jason’s perspective on how mobile fits into the larger picture was an important one. He views mobile as a critical channel for any content company but reminded that a lot of work needs to be done in terms of standardization, metrics, auditing, and  privacy before mobile advertising becomes a thriving industry.

In both places, audience was well informed and highly engaged. Questions ranged from business models to technology intricacies. People didn’t think some of the newer MVNO models like that from Blyk will last too long and that for the trends will different for different geographies. For example, in emerging markets, mobile is going to be the only means to bring digital advertising to the masses, a point we make in our book as well. Will high-end phones be free subsidized by advertising as Eric Schmidt had proclaimed, well, don’t bet your life on it, at least not just yet though if someone like Google makes up its mind, it can, as Victor says, “make the market.”

I really enjoyed engaging with the panelists and the audience. Plenty of questions, we could have gone on for hours if not days. It was quite hectic but fun. Next week, I am moderating a panel “Mobile Mania - Show me the Money” at Washington Technology Industry Association and then facilitating a developer forum “Mobile Jam Session” at CTIA on 31st. On 24th April, I will be giving a class on Mobile Advertising at Stanford University (Prof. Kosnik’s course) and the same evening, I head to Sacramento to give a talk being organized by TechCoire on “Mobile Advertising: A $20B Opportunity?” In May, on the 13th, I will be in NY giving a talk on mobile advertising to the advertising executives, on 20th will be doing a book event being organized by CommNexus in San Diego, and on 21st will be moderating a panel discussion on the promise of mobile advertising at the highly regarded Future In Review Conference.

Hope to see some of you on these sojourns.

US Wireless Market Update - 4Q07 and 2007 March 10, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, BRIC, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, India, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments

US Wireless Market Update - 4Q07 and 2007

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http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq407.htm

The US wireless data market grew 55% in 2007 ending the year with $24.5 billion in data services revenues with 4Q yielding $6.9B. 2007 also saw significant industry milestones like: iPhone launch, US crossing 250 million subscriptions, 3G penetration in the US touching 25% subscriber base, consternation around 700 MHz spectrum auction, MediaFLO launch, Android launch, Nokia crossing 40% market share, WiMAX and Femto Cell trials, and much more. US almost equaled Japan in mobile data service revenues for the year (rounding error and currency fluctuation difference). With several significant launches coming up in 2008, US remains one of the most attractive wireless data markets.

Global update

          More details in our worldwide wireless data market update coming out later this month.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Mobile Industry Predictions - 2008 January 1, 2008

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 9 comments

I never think of future, it comes soon enough Albert Einstein

First things first. Wish you a very happy and successful 2008.

Before we look at whats to come, lets do a quick wrap-up of the year that was.

2007 will clearly be remembered as the year of iPhone. While there were several other events/trends of interest through-out the year, nothing captured the imagination of the world like the iPhone. It was significant for another big reason it had a profound impact on the business model and ecosystem dynamics. Q4 2007 was also significant for the deafening roar that resonated around Openness.

Steve Ballmer exclaimed mobile to be the next battleground while Eric Schmidt pondered why mobile phones are not free (subsidized by Google ads of course).

Google played its chess game effectively and though it is unlikely to play to win the 700 MHz auction or even if they do win would be able to do anything substantive in the short-term, they did, however, with Android and spectrum gambit, force some of the regulation-wary operators to take a stance on openness. Nokia is putting together a brilliant services strategy that looks to connect directly to the consumer. Competition and coopitition will have a different meaning going forward.

Things were looking positive for WiMAX until the end of the year when Clearwire was left standing on its own. It will look towards Google, Sprint, Motorola, and others to rescue its fate.

Mobile Advertising was hailed as a great savior of mobile content and mobile revenues in general. Blyk even launched an advertising-based MVNO. We made significant headway in energizing the sub segment but the tough problems of privacy, education, control, fragmentation, and user experience remain. LBS picked up steam and mobility started to get into the alternate consumer device universe.

In terms of actual dollars, mobile data market continued its steady growth with substantial shifts in revenue towards non-SMS data applications and services. Several operators are doing $2B/quarter+ in data revenues. Several subscription milestones throughout the year: 3B worldwide, 500M China, 250M US, 225M India. 3G continued to inch towards mass-market in western markets (20-25% penetration) while in Korea and Japan, it was getting hard to find people without 3G (70%+ penetration).

Among other events of significance: Cincinnati Bell and T-Mobile launched UMA devices, Motorola lost its Mojo, AmpD and Disney Mobile shut down, MediaFLO launched, mCommerce initiatives took hold, China continued to delay 3G, WM got updated, Yahoo cemented some impressive operator deals as GYM got more active in mobile, UMPC fizzled, Mobile Web 2.0 got into the industry physce, LTE got embraced worldwide, M&A galored, IP scuffles continued, Muni projects went into coma, and DRM-adorned content became a thing of the past.

2008 will be a pretty eventful year from several perspectives: business models, user experience and expectations, ecosystem posturing, disruption, and friction. How are things going to shape up? What will be hot and what will fade into oblivion? How will competition shape up the new sub-segments? We put some of the questions to our colleagues in the industry. This survey was a bit different in the sense that the movers and shakers (and folks from the companies discussed here) and industry insiders participated. We were able to glean some valuable insights from their choices and comments. Participants (n=196) were folks from across the mobile value chain and from around the world.

Many thanks to everyone who participated.

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(click for larger image)

Three names were drawn for a copy of our upcoming book Mobile Advertising (co-authored with Joe Herzog and Victor Melfi, John Wiley & Sons, 432 pages, Feb 2008).

The winners are:

  1. David Cushman, Director, Emap

  2. Larry Shapiro, VP, Disney, and

  3. Keith Kostuch, SVP, Alltel

Congrats and Thank you.

Now onto the survey analysis.

Figures above and below summarize the responses. We requested respondents to rate the probability of an event happening in 2008 on a scale 1 to 5. 1 being Not a chance to 5 being 100% probability The figure above summarizes the overall probability of the event happening. The figure below provides the breakdown of responses.

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1. Will Google introduce a Google Branded Phone in 2008?

Will it? Wont it? 44.5% gave it a 75% or higher chance of happening while 40% thought it aint happening. GPhone is a temptation Google will find hard to resist though a lot will depend on how various initiatives and partnerships shape-up on the ground. In any case, expect another major announcement in the next 2-3 months.

2. Will Google play to win in the 700MHz Spectrum Auction?

Google has played the spectrum chess game effectively. Almost 50% respondents gave it a 75% or higher chance of Google winning the bid. Though expectations are high, Google is unlikely to play to win. Services business is not their cup of tea, they could still fund the Clearwire-Sprint deal but that investment can be spent differently to get better end-results, i.e. mobile ad revenue.

3. Will Microsoft launch its own mobile phone?

Unless Google comes out with GPhone, Microsoft will stay content with its operator distribution strategy. 63% of respondents gave it less than a 25% chance of Microsoft releasing their own phone. If GPhone comes out and gets some traction, expect Microsoft to get its fast follower strategy into high gear.

4. Will Mobile Payments get traction in North America and Western Europe?

Only 9% thought it is a sure bet for 2008. True mobile commerce hasnt really started in the western world. While there are significant movements, 2008 will just be a lay the groundwork year for mobile payments.

5. Will WiMAX regroup from its setbacks?

Only 35% gave it a 75% or higher chance (of WiMAX resurrecting itself esp. in the US in 2008). A lot depends on how Mr. Hesse deals with Sprints WiMAX business. Indications are there will be a deal with Clearwire to off-load the risks via some external investment (Google?).

6. Will Helio survive 2008?

Almost 70% respondents thought Helio wont make it. Given the flameout of some of the prominent new-generation MVNOs, it is hard to see how Helio will see 2009. It will all come down to how persistent is SK Telecom. Earthlink doesnt have the bank balance to keep funding this initiative.

7. Will Verizon truly open-up its garden for third-party visitations?

Only 5% thought it is a sure bet for 2008. Verizons open posturing was more to ward off any regulators and to improve its image. There is unlikely to be any meaningful progress on this front this year.

8. Will 2008 be the inflection year for Mobile Advertising?

42% gave Mobile Advertising a 75% or higher chance for rapid growth. Market will mature, more consolidation, some privacy gaffes but overall things are looking up for mobile advertising.

9. Will Femto-Cells gain any significant momentum in 2008?

It will be an introduction and experimentation year, so no significant traction is expected. Over 52% thought Femto-Cells will be just a buzz word in 2008.

10. Will Nokia be able to extract iPhone-style rev-share from carriers in 2008?

Less than 20% thought Nokia will be able to do an Apple when it comes to rev-share arrangements. For OEMs, going direct to the consumers was considered treachery to the sacrosanct relationship with the operators. Until Apple showed up with iPhone. Now, Nokia is putting its services strategy in motion and is building a direct relationship with the consumers worldwide and it has a good shot at pulling it off though it will be a long haul.

11. Will Palm survive 2008?

Only 8% gave it a 100% chance of surviving 08 as an independent entity. It will be difficult for Palm to stay in a status-quo mode. They desperately need a hit device that can give them some breathing room.  Given all the operational and strategic problems the company is having, a sale is likely.

12. Will iPhone truly open up?

Over 45% thought iPhone wont open-up in any meaningful way. Apple has built-up one of the most profitable closed empires in the digital world. Are they about open things up? While the iPhone SDK is scheduled for early 08, dont hold your breath on accessing the critical native APIs.

13. Will there be more unsubsidized devices introduced in the US market in 2008?

Almost 49% thought we are likely to see another unsubsidized device in the US market this year. Nokia is looking to go direct and some GSM handset manufacturers are likely to entertain the idea of testing the market with unsubsidized devices.

14. Will Mobile TV move the needle in 2008?

Almost 70% thought mobile TV wont make much of a difference in 08.Though AT&T is slated to introduce MediaFLO to join Verizon in the Mobile TV services market, lack of devices and better pricing models will hinder wide adoption in 2008. However, downloadable video and VOD content will experience significant growth.

15. Will Android make a dent in handset shipments in 2008?

Only 15% gave it a more than 75% chance this year. It is going to take some time for Android plans to mature and materialize. Dont see any material impact in 08.

Of course, 15 questions cant cover the whole industry. As pointed out our respondents, there are a number of other issues and opportunities that will shape the ecosystem - Rise of Facebook as social networking OS for mobile (social networking as a whole starts to go mobile), LBS beyond navigation, Rev-share shuffles, Chinese OEM start to become prominent in the western world, China and India continue to dominate in net-adds, Mobile device security becomes a nightmare for corporate IT, Consumers wake up to mobile privacy snafus and risks, Will Android spread its tentacles beyond nicheosphere, 3G iPhone, Does China Olympics hold any surprises for the mobile industry? Launch of projection handsets, NFC handsets, IMS .. and much much more ..

All in all, consternation and debate will continue into 2008. We will analyze, dissect, and report as events unfold in the new year.

Look forward to the continuing dialogue and meeting with you in person.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Stanford University Program - Future of Indian Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) Market December 8, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, India, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 18 comments

Stanford University Program - Future of Indian Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) Market

Stanford University hosted a program focused on the Indian Wireless Market Why Mobile?, Why India?, Why Now? Under the tutelage of Prof. Tom Kosnik of Stanford, Graduate Student Mohit Gundecha and BDA worked on a study looking at the Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) market in India and presented their research at the event along with the release of their in-depth report on the subject. Prof. Kosnik started the evening by giving a presentation on his Global Leaders Entrepreneurs and Altruists Network (GLEAN) initiative. This was followed by a keynote from Jeffrey Belk, SVP Strategy and Market Development, Qualcomm (sponsor for the event) providing an overview of mobile growth in emerging and developing markets. The evening ended with a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of the MVAS space. This note summarizes the discussion from the event and our random musings on the market.

The panelists for the discussion were:

(above L to R)

Eric Allen, VP, FunMobility (Moderator)

Ashok Narsimhan, Chairman and CEO, July Systems,

Ojas Rege, VP, Global Mobile Products, Yahoo!,

Vin Dham, Executive Managing Director, NEA-IndoUS Ventures,

myself, and 

Niren Shah, Managing Director, Norwest Venture Partners,

It was an honor to be part of this discussion.

First, lets do the numbers. As we have reported in our previous research notes, Indias growth has been going through the roof. We are likely to end up with over 80M net-add (subscriptions) for the year taking the overall tally to 232M. In the last 5 months, India has added more subs than China. By early April, Indian Market will cross US as the number 2 wireless market in the world. China remains untouchable with over 500M subs. Indian Government is targeting 500M subs by 2010. So, what does this all mean?

Couple of points on the numbers Just like in other prepaid markets especially Europe, there is a lot of double counting of subs. Many of the unused SIMs are still being counted so the number of actual subscribers is less than the numbers that are generally discussed for the market. Secondly, the new subs that are being added are primarily voice subs and hence ARPU (esp. data ARPU is steadily going down for the market. Overall ARPU is approximately $8-9 with 8-9% from data services (where P2P SMS still dominates). Despite low ARPUs, operator margins remain good. The overall MVAS market is close to $1B. The revenue splits are approx 60% for the operators, 20% for the aggregator and rest for the developer and content owner.

Mobile Advertising Market in India Having looked at the mobile advertising space in depth for our upcoming book, we found the Indian market one of the most active esp. in coming up with interesting business models both operator driven as well as new startups. One of the first in-application mobile advertising services was launched by Reliance, they have several other interesting programs in place that cater to the advertising industry. One of the mobile advertising campaigns that we discuss in the book generated over 21M impressions and won the Cannes award. Companies like mGinger have come up with simple pyramid viral scheme to use SMS mobile advertising. As Admob numbers indicate, the number of impressions are second only to the US market despite low penetration. Finally, operators in India are quite innovate when it comes to integrating the back-end for triple and quad-play unlike their western counterparts who have primarily focused on bill-integration vs. service and application integration.

So, who is actually making money? Clearly the most amount of money is in the infrastructure-related items. Infrastructure is something that is absolutely needed to expand and though the margins shrink quite a bit, it is somewhat made up in volumes. Unless you have unique Intellectual Property that creates barriers to entry, software and/or content companies havent had much luck (similar to the trends in China) as the local competition is stiff. Overseas companies who jump in without understanding the market lured by the growing numbers are destined to be surprised.

Cricket, Bollywood, and Education remain the top categories for MVAS apps. Panelists were bullish on new MVAS applications and services around UGC, LBS, high-end segmentation, and enterprise applications. Everyone agreed that the next couple of years are primarily for educating the market and subscription acquisition and it will take another 2-3 years for the MVAS to mature and take off. Unless you are in for the long haul, tread carefully. This market is not for the faint-hearted. IP issues can pose significant risks and challenges.

Jeff thought 3G rather than WiMAX will drive growth in the Indian Market, while Vin suggest Fixed WiMAX is going to be significant. I think the primary use of WiMAX will be to provide Internet connectivity to desktops and laptops and for backhaul of backend systems.

We kind of joked that Indian market might become the second largest market for iPhones within a few months given the pace of unlocked phone shipment to the region.

A question was asked how is working with operators in India different, if at all? Apart from a larger value chain share, things are quite similar. Indian operators do exhibit the desire to move fast and they can take an app to the market quite rapidly where some of their western brethren can keep trialing forever.

You can access the released report here.

You can watch the video from the panel discussion here (Part I, Part II, you can access other videos from the evening on the same page).

Prof. Kosnik and Mohit are launching a new program called Mobile Momentum to create an ongoing dialog between Silicon Valley companies and the vibrant mobile industry in Asia. I have signed on as the founding member of the advisory board and look forward to working with entrepreneurs and companies on both sides of the pacific to share thoughts, research, and best practices.

If you would like to receive my slides from the event, please let me know.

2008 promises to be even more exciting than 07. Happy Holidays.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007 Roundup October 28, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Partnership, Privacy, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments

cid:image001.jpg@01C81817.0F453F50

http://www.chetansharma.com/ctiaoct07.htm

The early morning full moon over the San Francisco bay was much more inspiring than any gizmos or gimmicks at the annual CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment show. Maybe it is the conference fatigue setting in but the scaled back event failed to gather steam and one had to rely on alternate sources to get a sense of where things are headed in the next 6-12 months. This note summarizes the observations and commentary from the show.

First lets do the numbers. CTIA released its mid-year data survey for the year. In summary, as of June 2007 - 243M subs, $67.9B in revenues (first 6 months), $10.5B in data revenues for the year accounting for 15.5% of the total service revenue, MOU exceeded 1 Trillion minutes, 1B TXT messages daily. These numbers were in line with the numbers we reported back in Aug.

Keynotes - The central theme that tied the three keynotes was Be Open, Do Good Work, and Rest will take care of itself. The keynotes from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook, and Atish Gude, Sprint Nextel emphasized the need to have an open platform for innovation, applications, and services. Havent we been down this lane before?

Steve started by taking a page out of our (upcoming) book, literally (page 243 to be exact) and describing a vision where mobile device becomes the remote control of your life for both workstyle and lifestyle. Too often we focus on separating out personal vs. professional but our lives are so intertwined that one minute you are setting up a doctors appointment and the next minute closing a sale. Companies that focus on managing the experience start to finish (waking to sleeping) independent of everything else will be the ones that dominate these turf wars. Microsofts big announcement was the release of device management server that includes mobile devices in addition to the desktop world (but it is limited to windows mobile devices only, Open?). Microsoft has been making impressive strides in occupying its place in the mobile ecosystem. Though windows mobile and battery life dont go together, the fact that they are deployed with 160 operators in 55 countries, shipping 20M devices/year places them at a significant advantage in the coming days.

Facebooks Moskovitz made the plea for openness of networks, devices, and applications to enable the social networking phenomenon on mobile. The fact that Microsoft and Facebook were doing the keynotes on the eve of strategic investment wasnt a coincidence. Dustin brought out the elderly statesman Mike Lazaridis to announce the facebook app for Blackberry smartphones. The interesting thing was how the app was introduced - Facebook chose RIM and RIM chose T-Mobile for this app. Device manufacturers are surely getting bolder. Facebook extended its platform to mobile. Getting social networking apps on mobile is a no-brainer. In fact, the coming enhancements with Presence, IMS, Broadband, Profiling, Location, can make mobile social network a society of its own.

I thought the most forceful case for openness was delivered by Atish Gude, SVP of the XOHM (WiMAX) initiative at Sprint Nextel. In fact, it was exactly along the lines of our recommendations for the operators in our book. Atish talked about openness across network, devices, content, and applications to deliver a great customer experience. Operators focus on delivering the intelligent network by focusing on QoS, Network elements like Presence and Location, Security, and Consistency of throughput and performance and leave the innovation in applications and services on the ecosystem who know how best to exploit the medium. His definition of device expanded beyond the mobile phone into consumer electronics and appliances which is a smart way of looking at things. However, vision is one thing and execution is another. Will Sprint be able to deliver on this vision in a timely fashion amidst quarterly Wall Street pressure is going to define the industry more than any of the hoopla of 700MHz.

Enterprise MIA - One of the personalities was clearly missing from the show. Yes, there was an enterprise pavilion but nothing new and different surfaced. Microsofts late foray into the device management space was the only worthwhile news that emerged.

LBS - The LBS industry proudly presented its posterchilds TeleAtlas, Navteq, TeleNav, and others. Their imposing presence on the show floor and in some of the sessions was palpable. I have been working in or following this space since 1995 and it finally feels that there is going to be some activity in this space after years of posturing, delays, and hype. However, the true value of location cant be unlocked unless it truly becomes open for the application and service developers. The delivery of coordinates for every request is not cheap so some form of business model or technical break through is needed to make the use pervasive. Some of the newer players displaying their wares were Telmap, locr, and earthcomber.

Mobile Advertising - It is great to see the progress over the last 12 months. The distribution, inventory, and ad networks are all improving and size of the campaigns are starting to reach six figures on average. Some of the working demos I saw were really compelling and some unique solutions are going to be introduced in the market in the next six months. Though the space is still nascent, some trends have started to emerge - companies who are focused on solving the problem end-to-end from strategy to execution to understanding the results are separating themselves from the plethora of technology providers in the space. There is tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in the metrics and auditing space in addition to the integration of silos.

WiMAX picks up steam On the heels of WiMAX being declared as part of the IMT-2000 family, WiMAX is slated to gather momentum though a lot still depends on carriers like Sprint to deploy nationwide networks and device manufacturers like Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung to bring cheap devices to the market. Nevertheless, Ciscos acquisition of Navini, Beceems deal with NEC and others are signs of positive movement in this sector.

Mobile Video a dying market? Already? Only a couple of CTIAs ago, Mobile video took the event by storm only to find defending itself as a viable business in a short span of time. The video quality has improved significantly but the business models have not.

Entering the US market - US remains one of the most attractive market for mobile data but very few overseas firm succeed. One of the big European brands Zed is making an aggressive and impressive push into the US market and is expecting up to 30% (or $150M) of its revenues coming from the US market in the next 12 months. They have developed a good platform for interactive games that tie the experience across mobile and online really well. EA and the likes should take notice.

Open - not in my backyard The keynotes were in sharp contrast with some of the carrier panels. One of them seemed to be the replay of a session I attended in 2001 or was it 1997. Eerie.

Presence, IMS - The discussion around presence and IMS is intensifying. Demos are getting better and the coordination between carriers to standardize and interoperate is improving but we still have a long way to go.

Coolest gadget - NeuroSky filled the void of a gadget less show by showcasing its mind-over-matter technology. Using brainwaves which are detected by a sensor attached to your head, it allows the user to move, push, and float objects by just concentrating on them. Remember The Matrix. Now, if you throw in Philips amBX and Microvisions PicoP, your cell phone becomes this gaming platform that takes the die-hards to the transcendental state of nirvana.

iPhone continues to dominate the talk - iPhone continues to set the tone of discussion in the industry. Since July, there has hardly been a mobile conference worth its salt that hasnt had a session on impact of iPhone. There hasnt been a mobile device like this one and it shows. Attendees proudly fiddled with their iPhones in public and were eager to discuss their experience and forecasts.

US vs. Europe - There was quite a bit of us vs. them discussion. CTIAs Wireless Wave magazine started the discussion by its cover story article The Continental Divide (for which we were interviewed). It was soon covered by the likes of WSJ (Walt Mossberg - Free My Phone), GigaOM (How far behind is the US vs. Europe?), Steve Largent (Largent to Mossberg .. Wish you were here in San Francisco), and others. As I say in the article - the picture is more complicated .. and one needs to take a holistic view. This topic is crying for a detailed study.

MCommerce - Behind closed doors there is a lot of discussion on MCommerce and how to enable phone to become the wallet of choice (this will be music to the ears to my colleagues in Japan and Korea). Some new and interesting models are starting to appear. One is from Mobilians, a company that has had good success in South Korea and is now setting its sight on the US market. Their focus is to use the phone to enable payment of online and offline goods. In Korea, Mobilians is registering 7M transactions/ month and over $1B in goods sold/year with up to $250 items (which appear on the carrier bill). This is a totally untapped space for the carrier and is a threat to the credit card companies especially for the low cost items where the 2%+20-25c fee drives up the effective rate for the merchant. A tier-1 carrier is also looking to firm up its mCommerce strategy in the next few weeks. It should be noted that some of the smaller regional carriers who survive due to laser focus customer service are testing and rolling out innovative solutions ahead of their bigger peers. For e.g. CellularSouth launched picture application (with Ontela) and after their successful trials with NFC based payments is looking into launching WirelessWallet. Similarly, some others are in the process of getting some LBS, Mobile Search, and Mobile Advertising solutions in the next quarter or so.

Misc

AOL Mobile re-launched its mobile suite of products. It has a good suite of assets and the company is starting to integrate and enhance the user experience.

More M&A activities are expected in the mobile advertising space in the next 6-12 months as startups use every advantage to maximize the returns before the big boys catch-up.

There was hardly any mention of the gPhone or the zPhone.

Verizon and Sprint are boosting the holiday season lineups to counter the onslaught of iPhone with similar looking phones.

Becker - a 60 year old company which launched the first ever car radio showed off its Traffic Assist unit which had a good user interface and free real-time traffic info for life.

M2M players such as Telit and Numerex showed their solutions in the machine-to-machine communications space.

Talkster talked about its free global calls in exchange of listening to ads.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Global Wireless Data Market Update - 1H 2007 September 12, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

Global Wireless Data Market Update - 1H 2007

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http://www.chetansharma.com/globalmarketupdate1H07.htm

As you read this first half (1H) 2007 Global Wireless Data Market update this week, somewhere in China, the 500 millionth subscription is being signed up for services. In India, the 200 millionth subscription mark was crossed in the last two weeks. In the US, the 250 millionth subscription will be reached by end of the year. In total, these three top mobile markets account for 32% of the total number of global subscriptions.

2007 continued to enhance mobile datas role in the operator ecosystem. From the true and tested SMS messaging to new services such as Mobile TV, Enterprise apps, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated for the first half of 2007. Japan and Korea remain the envy of the global markets and the countries to study and learn from. The US market has been steadily making strong comeback and equaled Japan in terms of most service revenue generated from mobile data.

Chetan Sharma Consulting conducted its semiannual study on the global mobile data industry. We studied wireless data trends in over 40 major countries - from developed and mature markets such as Japan, Korea, UK, and Italy to high-growth markets such as China, India, Brazil, and Russia. This note summarizes the findings from the research.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Whitepaper: Unified Mobile Data Platform - An Analytics based approach June 11, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Whitepaper

Unified Mobile Data Platform An Analytics based approach

Sponsored by InfoSpace Mobile

Download PDF (30 pages, 1MB)

Executive Summary

2006 was a banner year for mobile data. Revenues from mobile data increased for all major carriers across all major regions around the world with data contributing 10-30% to overall revenues. In Q1 2007, US carriers recorded over $5B in data revenues with mobile data contributing to over 16% of the more than $32B in carrier service revenues. In fact, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) from data jumped 43% from last year. It has been a long journey though. Driven initially by SMS messaging, the market embraced ringtones, graphics, music, and gaming, each creating multi-billion dollar markets. As we look into the next five years, not only are new content applications such as broadcast video, idle screen, user-generated-content, community, and mobile search being introduced, but the functionality available with these applications, such as the sharing and tagging of data, is also increasing the demand on the mobile entertainment platform to be adaptive to the growing needs of the market. To stay competitive in this rapidly evolving and challenging market place, service providers must move from silod point solutions to integrated unified platforms to maximize their returns from the declining services and better prepare for the technical and business challenges in front of them. The vast potential of mobile data services in general and mobile search and advertising specifically cant be realized without a retooling of the fundamental approach to deploying services, engaging partners, and serving users with the best possible analytics-driven contextual user experience. This paper outlines the evolution of data services, discusses the need for unified mobile data services approach, and lays out the basics and the merits of a services-oriented analytics-driven framework.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary                                                               2

Evolution of data services                                                      3

Integrated solution offering                                                   11

Mobile Search - providing impetus for integration                   15

Rise of the brands - What’s your Audience Strategy?               17

Analytics driven unified framework                                        21

Mobile Advertising                                                               26

Recommendations                                                               29

Conclusions                                                                         30

Your comments are always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

US Wireless Data Market Update Q1 2007 May 15, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q1 2007

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http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq107.htm

US wireless data market continues to grow at a steady pace offsetting any decline in voice revenues. Growth in both enterprise and consumer segments resulted in a $5B quarter for the industry (by comparison, in 2004, the total data revenues for the year were $4.6B). Given that approximately 60% of the revenues are from non-SMS applications and the subscriber penetration of data services is still low, we remain bullish on the US data market. However, as the subscriber penetration crossed 80% this month, the subscriber growth continues to slow down from its highs in 2005.

Your comments are always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

WSA 2007 Investment Forum and Technology Showcase Roundup May 3, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, Carriers, European Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

Earlier today, I had the pleasure to moderate and be the judge of two wireless panels at the WSA 2007 Investment Forum and Technology Showcase - kind of like final of the American Idol of the Tech world.

I also attended some of the other keynote panels. We will get to the panel discussion in a bit but first, the morning kicked with an exciting discussion between Mark Anderson, CEO, Strategic News Service and Peter Wilson, Engineering Director, Google. It was classic Mark. Readers might be familiar with Mark as the originator of the the term “AORTA” - the name of this blog.

with Mark Anderson

The whole Web 2.0 business model has thus far been around advertising, even with mobile and new UGC companies, it has been all about gathering eye-balls and monetize by advertising, and hope to God, one of the GYMs or perhaps media companies will buy them out. But this model can’t sustain, can it?. Mark and Peter beautifully captured the essence of the promise and the hype of the backbone of this model. Mark noted in his recent newsletter

For all the talk about Web 2.0 (thank you, Mr. O’reilly) and other toolkit changes, there is no money involved. Take all the social networking sites, and how exciting it is to have your own yearbook page with animation and lipstick, but - it’s still a pig. And the only way that pig looks even mildly attractive is because someone is trying to staple ad money to its left ear.

Google is clearly trying to broaden its revenue stream beyond advertising. Mark didn’t think Google’s approach of going after the enterprise customer is working and is unlikely to gain much momentum. Peter was upbeat about SAAS model and thought everytime someone uses a browser for an application over the net, the value of Microsoft’s franchise decreases. He was upbeat on UGC and Mashups and thought it will create tremendous opportunities.

Mark, Jeremy, and Peter

Mark is really good at analogies and coming up with good acronyms. He likened the advertising business to the river of money and everyone wants to tap into it. Mark warned that too many companies are going after advertising business while agencies are going to gravitate towards top 3-4 players, just like in other mediums. He suggested companies should focus on real customers and real money rather than hope for acquisition by GYM. He thought security is going to be a big issue in a broader sense of the word.

Stuck between the two was Trumba’s founder Jeremy Jaech who concurred with Mark that the best seats along the river of money are already taken and it is hard to make money from advertising. They toyed with the idea initially but soon moved to creating value through traditional means - selling to the enterprise.

In terms of new things coming, everyone agreed, mobile is the place to be and Seattle is the mecca for mobile innovation. Mobile as a pay device and collaborative software apps are things to watch for.

It was a great panel discussion with good provocative discussion.

Back to my panels.

The two wireless panels were:

Funding Pitch - Morning Panel

Panelists

Reed Thorkildsen, Vice President of Technology and R&D, Infospace       Jodi Sherman Jahic, Principal, Voyager Capital
Adrian Smith, Principal, Ignition

Presenting Companies

Mixxers (CEO - John Dearborn) Mobilizer Widget allows users to share content, such as photos, across any U.S. wireless carrier. With just a click, people can send pictures, videos and even original music recordings to virtually any cell phone. Friends can turn pictures into wallpaper or watch funny videos on their mobile phone from anywhere, without having to log on to their computer. Mixxer also gives people the ability to tweak their Mobilizer Widget to better match the look and feel of their personal webpages.

Mobile Semiconductor Corporation (CEO - Cameron Fisher) is a design company dedicated to supplying a complete, differentiated, high-performance memory solution for smart phones and 4G video enabled handsets in the wireless market. Present memory elements of cell phones are comprised of numerous discrete components such as non-volatile Flash memory and volatile DRAM memory connected with multiple bus communication protocols. Mobile-Semis approach relies on a different architecture, combining these elements into a single memory system package containing multiple silicon layers that supply all internal memory requirements. The result is a small size form factor, greatly increased performance, and low power consumption.

Treemo (CEO - Brent Brookler) provides a Real Time Social Media Platform (SMP) that leverages the immediacy of mobile social media to consume, produce, manage and distribute user generated content of all types across multiple media including mobile and Web. The Treemo platform and technology is showcased on Treemo.com, a site that allows users to easily create personalized channels either via their PC, or through the mobile phone. The platform allows media to be embedded on external websites such as social networks, blogs and news sites, and it can also be skinned under a different brand as a white label solution.

and the Sales Pitch Panel - Afternoon Panel

Reed Thorkildsen, Vice President of Technology and R&D, Infospace       Robert Gary, Executive Director of Product Realization, AT&T
Steve Wood, Chairman, SinglePoint

Presenting Companies

Ontela (Director - Mike Acuri), Inc. provides technology infrastructure to wireless carriers. Ontelas service delivers camera phone photos instantly to consumers PCs and favorite Web sites as soon as the image is taken. Ontela’s PicDeck platform enables wireless carriers and Image Service Vendors (ISVs) to deliver new image applications to their customers. The PicDeck technology automatically delivers every picture taken on a camera phone to the user’s PC and favorite imaging Web sites while remaining invisible to the user. Ontela licenses its services to wireless carriers, enabling them to monetize their networks and relationships with ISVs Ontela does not provide its technology directly to consumers.

Perlego Systems (COO - Todd Ostrander) provides hosted, on-demand Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions allowing for the deployment, management, backup and restoration of mobile devices for the entire mobile value chain. Currently about 2M devices as install base.

ZenZui (Cofounder - John SanGiovanni) represents an entirely new way for consumers to discover and interact with the mobile web that is redefining the mobile advertising and marketing paradigm in the process. With ZenZui, your phone screen is a portal into your own customized Zoomspace, an information landscape of personalized, cached content presented in a compelling, easy-to-use, interactive visual interface. ZenZuis core technology brings advanced information visualization techniques out of the research lab, onto mobile phones, and into the hands of mobile operators, marketers and consumers. ZenZuis high-frame rate zooming user interface employs up to 36 individual Tiles that are selected and customized by the user to reflect their interests and lifestyle with relevant content, interactive communications, and fresh data. From the connected communities of social networks, and the latest sports and weather info, to the fun and immediacy of pop culture, and much more this modular Tile interface lets users sync, surf, and share digital content quickly, easily, and in a totally new way.

Each presenting company had 10 minutes to pitch, 10 min for panel/judge Q&A and then some time for follow-up questions and feedback to the companies. It is not easy to cram all you want to say in 10 minutes but i guess that’s the test especially if you are pitching to the VCs.

The three panelists and I as a moderator got to rate the company on company’s management team and idea, market potential, and product features. One company won each category and there was also a grand prize for overall presenting company (there were two other presentation tracks - Web Services/Software and Digital Media, so total of 6 tracks).

Mobile Semiconductor won in the morning panel and Zenzui wowed us in the second one. Zenzui also won the overall prize for the best presenting company. I will be talking more to John and the management team in the coming days and will report back. I have been bullish on the concept of piecing together different pieces of content (mashups and widgets) coming into a single UI experience. Zenzui is a good incarnation of that philosophy and these guys know their stuff, really well.

With John SanGiovanni

Larry Orr, Managing GP of Trinity Ventures gave the luncheon keynote and went into some detail about his love for Seattle companies, discussed Starbucks, BlueNile, and Wall Data at length and did a Letterman like top 10 number on “Top 10 reasons to invest in Seattle: A Silicon valley perspective”

Overall, it was great to moderate panels with great panelists and presenting companies and mingle with who’s who of Seattle venture community and passionate entrepreneurs including James Sun of Zoodango (the apprentice guy). Seattle remains the hotbed of mobile and new technologies emerging from the shadows of the giants.

Global Wireless Data Market Update 2006 April 29, 2007

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Gaming, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, MVNO, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Networks, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

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http://www.chetansharma.com/worlddatatrends2006.htm

In 2006, mobile data industry grew across every geography. From the true and trusted SMS messaging to new services such as Mobile TV, LBS, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated for the year. Japan and Korea remain the envy of the global markets and the countries to study and learn from. The US market has been steadily making strong comeback and is soon going to become the biggest mobile data revenue generating market in the world. Chetan Sharma Consulting conducted its bi-annual study of the global mobile data industry. We took a look at wireless data trends in over 40 major countries - from developed and mature markets such as Japan, Korea, UK, and France to high-growth markets such as China, India, Brazil, and Russia. The study also took a detailed look at over 30 prominent operators. This note summarizes the findings from the research.

Your comments are always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

Mobile Advertising Panel Roundup April 19, 2007

Posted by chetan in : AORTA, ARPU, CTIA, Carriers, Indian Wireless Market, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 8 comments

Yesterday, I had the distinct honor to present and moderate a PAN-IIT event on “Mobile Advertising - Technical Challenges and Business Opportunities” at Google’s Kirkland offices.

I will get into the panel discussion in a minute. First, would like to join everyone in paying our sincerest condolences and prayers to the families of Prof. G.V.Loganathan and rest of the folks who were lost in the tragic Virginia-Tech incident. Prof. Loganathan was a fellow IIT alum and colleague and friend of many in the community.

Mobile Advertising Panel Discussion

Our illustrious panel included:

(Bios here)

Decades of experience in Mobile, Internet, and Advertising.

I started the discussion by giving a broad overview of the mobile advertising industry and some of the things that we should be thinking about. In random order, they are:

Mobile Advertising means different things to different people: Depending on a company’s focus, mobile advertising means different things to different companies. There are over a dozen different channels or strategies at our disposal in this framework, for instance -

No one provider offers capabilities across a majority of them, you could argue that there is no need but from an advertiser’s perspective, the situation demands aggregation and simplicity.

Forecasts: I put up a graphic that included the US mobile advertising forecasts from several leading analysts and asked the audience to guess the timeframe for the same. The original figure is below -

(Source: eMarketer, 2001)

This is a reminder that a) it is hard to forecast when you are starting from zero and b) we should learn our lessons from history. 2006/7 forecasts stand at

(Source: eMarketer, 2006)

(Data Source: Informa, 2006)

 (Data Source: ABI Research, 2007)

It is not a question of whether these forecasts will prove to be accurate in 4-5 years time, but what will it take to make these forecasts real. Can we learn from the last time around and apply the lessons to this cycle?

Japanese Mobile Advertising market: Clearly, Japan has had more experience with Mobile Advertising than rest of the markets. In 2006, the average revenue/user/year stood at around $4. For US, this figure was less than $1.

Mobile Advertising value chains: As I mentioned above, mobile advertising means different things to different people and hence there are different value chains in place though they are merging rapidly.

Measurement: It is critical for the success of the industry to have measurement tools in place. I discussed Ogilvy’s Lenova campaign that generated 188% lift in brand awareness and 156% lift in product recall.

Mobile Advertising Framework: Finally, I presented my view of the technical advertising framework that is needed to make the experience work for the user

Panel Discussion

We had a packed house and a very engaged audience. We had influential engineers, VCs, biz dev, mobile enthusiasts in the mix. I asked the panelists to summarize their view of the Mobile Advertising space and what they saw as some of the challenges going in. (paraphrasing of their comments is mine)

Everyone was bullish on the segment, however they cautioned that it will take time, as the “reach” is not there yet. Jai mentioned the oft-quoted 15% penetration for browsing in the US as a limitation of “reach”. Kosar discussed Google’s initiatives in Japan where they are doing a lot of testing to hone in on the “user experience”. Victor talked about the challenges of “user interface” and that voice represents a good solution to cut through the archaic menu hierarchy to find things. He is not worried about the supply and demand but the brokerage in the middle. Brendan talked about the “ecosystem friction” wherein we have too many players for advertisers to deal with and an aggregated or simplified view is needed for the advertisers to jump in with both feet. Coming from the broadcast and Internet marketing background at TW/AOL, Brendan thought measurement authority like Nielsen is a must.

Kosar described the concept of “signals” that Google uses to discern “intent” and how mobile presents a great experimentation field to test some search techniques and algorithms that can also be applied to online search at a later date. The reason being low threshold for wrong results on mobile.

On the question of targeting, Brendan and Jai mentioned the use of demographic data available from the carrier to make search results (and advertising) better. Kosar said that Google’s focus is on tailoring experiences for device capabilities and cannot always rely on user preferences on mobile devices since they are not always available. They want to make sure an ad shows up where user expects it to show up. Google is concerned for both the user and the advertiser. Victor used to the run probably the biggest direct marketing research org in the world at Reader’s Digest and he thought that the targeting is actually much easier in mobile due “declared intent”.

There was some discussion on the meaning of mobile advertising and how promotions and marketing are part of the same mix. Jai said that recommendation is another form of advertising which appears non-intrusive and is actually useful for the consumers. Amazon gets a good chunk of their revenues from recommendation clicks. I myself find them quite useful and end up buying dozens of books this way every year.

Victor thought that the ”promotions” piece (tied to local search) is actually going to be a much more lucrative business than the banner ads or even media search related advertising.

Kosar reiterated Google’s philosophy - “focus on the best products and experiences, and monetization opportunities will emerge naturally both for users and advertisers”.

There was active participation from the audience as well.

Katie Thompson from Trilogy (a prominent VC firm in PNW) wondered about the ad saturation levels we might be reaching and how do we address that and if agencies are worried about that aspect.

Mohan Venkataramana, President of IITPNW chapter and a veteran in the industry saw history repeating itself w.r.t. advertisements and evolution of the mobile industry.

There was general agreement that industry needs to focus on user’s needs  rather than CPC and CPMs at this stage in the game. And that user privacy issues should stay at the forefront.

Another one lamented that first the carriers need to fix the voice quality, reduce data rate plans, and make things usable before consumers are going to tolerate ads.

Someone narrowed things down to two key aspects a) location and b) relevant targeting.

There were questions about the Japanese market and if it is different from the US and if that’s the reason advertising will take longer in the US. A lot of people misunderstand the Japanese (and Korean) market. I was advisor to the senior management team of NTT DoCoMo when they were active in the US and we used to laugh about the misconceptions and the myths that perpetuated in the US market. We dealt with this issue in quite a bit of detail in our previous book (co-authored with Dr. Nakamura, SVP, DoCoMo).

We could have gone on for the rest of the night but had to wrap things up. Mobile Advertising is a broad topic and it is hard to cover all aspects of it in 90 minutes, but touched on quite a number of items and honed in on a couple.

Thanks to our hosts Google for space and food, the panelists for an illuminating evening and spirited discussion, and the participants for making it a lively exchange.