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New Paper: Mobile Apps Privacy Framework For Consumer Transparency and Control November 19, 2013

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, AORTA, Privacy, Security, US Wireless Market, Usability, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Mobile Apps Privacy Framework For Consumer Transparency and Control

A Mobile Future Forward Research Paper

The paper was originally published in the Mobile Future Forward 2013 Book - Mobile 4th Wave: Mining The Trillion Dollar Opportunity

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

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mobileprivacy_s

Introduction

Mobile technology is an integral part of our daily life. Mobile devices help consumers in many ways. They help us connect with loved ones, provide directions, catch-up with news, send emails, text friends and family, monitor our heart rate, stream movies, interact on social media sites, and complete transactions in a matter of seconds. Most of the times, applications and services require end-user related data to understand the context and provide appropriate content. It is well understood that data is critical in providing a great user-experience. However, consumers don’t have a clear understanding of how their personal data is being collected, stored, and used.

The collection of consumers’ personal information is not new. The difference now is that there are tools available that help connect various dots to generate the precise information about the user and build a detailed user profile without consumer knowing about it. Because of the location based technologies and various apps on your phone, companies now have a log of all of your day activities. Over time, the data collected can generate significant details about your habits, likes and dislikes, and pretty much build your identity without you ever knowing about it.

There have been many concerns raised by consumers about privacy of their data collected through mobile devices. For example, a nationwide survey indicated that 57% of all the apps users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place for similar reasons. A mobile app developer had to settle with the FTC because they were collecting kid’s information without their parent’s consent. Delta airlines had to settle with California State when they were cited for mobile apps privacy violation in a lawsuit. A popular social networking application Path was fined $800K by the FTC for improperly sending consumer’s contact information to their cloud. FTC has repeatedly warned leading mobile app developers and platform providers to be more transparent about consumer data and privacy and even issued a recommendation report in 2013.

Data that provides context to the application developer is definitely needed to provide a robust user experience. Google Maps won’t operate well without location information, Whatsapp will not work well without the address book, Facebook requires the interaction history to provide a better newsfeed, Amazon looks at past transactions to recommend new ones, and so on and so forth. However, there is a lack of a simple and consistent way to convey the intent and the value of the data being collected, stored, and used by various application providers.

These concerns clearly indicate that in order to build consumer trust, we must provide control to consumers over their personal information and be extremely transparent about what, when, and where companies are collecting personal information.  There must be a balance. While protecting consumer privacy, there shouldn’t be a negative impact on innovation.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in March 2014. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in February 2014.

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

US Mobile Data Market Update Q2 2010 August 10, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

US Mobile Data Market Update Q2 2010

http://chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq22010.htm

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Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 6% Q/Q and 22% Y/Y to exceed $13.2B in mobile data service revenues in Q2 2010 - on track so far to meet our initial estimate of $54B for the year.

Having narrowly edged NTT DoCoMo last quarter for the first time, Verizon Wireless maintained its number one ranking for the 1H 2010 in terms of the operator with the most mobile data revenues (though the difference was thinner than the amoeba membrane).  The total wireless connections for Verizon were almost 100M with 92.1M being the traditional subscriber base. Rest of the 3 top US operators also maintained leading positions amongst the top 10 global mobile data operators.

Sprint had the first positive netadd quarter in 3 years and has been slowly and steadily turning the ship around. T-Mobile did better on the postpaid netadds but overall additions declined again. The larger question for the market is if 4 large players can stay competitive. Generally, the answer is no. But these are different times and there are a number of permutations and combinations that are possible.

The US subscription penetration crossed 95% at the end of Q2 2010. If we take out the demographics of 5 yrs and younger, the mobile penetration is now past 100%. While the traditional net-adds have been slowing, the “connected device” segment is picking up so much that both AT&T and Verizon added more connected devices than postpaid subs in Q2 2010. Given the slow postpaid growth, operators are fiercely competing in prepaid, enterprise, connected devices, and M2M segments.

Data traffic continued to increase across all networks. By 1H 2010, the average US consumer was consuming approximately 230 MB/mo up 50% in 6 months. US has become ground zero for mobile broadband consumption and data traffic management evolution. While it lags Japan and Korea in 3G penetration by a distance, due to higher penetration of smartphones and datacards, the consumption is much higher than its Asian counterparts. Given that it is also becoming the largest deployment base for HSPA+ and LTE, most of the cutting edge research in areas of data management and experimentation with policy, regulations, strategy, and business models is taking place in the networks of the US operators and keenly watched by players across the global ecosystem.

As we had forecasted, the tiered pricing structure for mobile broadband touched the US shores with AT&T becoming the first major operator to change its pricing plan based on consumer consumption. We will see the pricing evolve over the next 2-4 quarters as the US mobile ecosystem adjusts to the new realities and strategies for mobile data consumption.

In the connected device category, iPad like its flashy cousin dominated the headlines, the sales numbers, and the industry profits. The device sent every slate maker back to the drawing board, many projects were cancelled and strategies are still being formulated to capture a new burgeoning space and Apple again has a massive lead of mindshare and pocketbook.

Kids of the now generation are growing with connected electronics that is fundamentally altering the behaviors and expectations of interaction, communication, consumption, and monetization.

All this has setup an absolutely fascinating period in the communication/computing industry. Convergence is everywhere and is leading to fundamental reset of the value chains and ecosystems. We are going to be discussing the ins and outs of how the  industry is going to evolve in the next decade in our Sept 8th event – Mobile Future Forward which is bringing exceptional industry thought-leaders, inventors, and doers to brainstorm, discuss, and debate what’s next. Hope you can join the discussion.

What to expect in the coming months?

31% of the US subscription base is now smartphones.

The pace of product introduction is accelerating with each quarter. Devices of all shapes and sizes are coming into the market literally every week. Players are having to re-evaluate their businesses and long-term strategies. Several new impressive devices got introduced during the course of 1H of 2010 including the iPad and EVO.

There are several players whose future is at stake (to put it mildly). The competition has grown fierce and companies are finding it hard to take ideas from R&D to products in market in a short amount of time.

Microsoft announced its comeback with the W7 commercial launch imminent. The change in UI was refreshing and the expectations are quite high. W7 v2 is likely around the corner to update on the flaws of v1. HP acquired Palm in an attempt to become relevant again in the mobile device space. It has been an action packed 1H 2010 and we can expect more of the same for the remainder of the year.

2010 has also been active on the regulatory front as the national broadband plan was unveiled in March and the subsequent debate over the course of nations broadband future kept the spectrum, net-neutrality, and exclusivity issues at the forefront.

To start planning for 4G, 5G, and beyond, US should think about rolling a 50 year broadband plan. While more spectrum is always helpful, will we have all the spectrum we need in 2050? or do we need to invent new technologies and business models that use spectrum more wisely? This topic will keep the industry occupied for some time to come. (We will be going in-depth into this subject at our Sept event with some very senior and experienced executives)

2010 is also the year of network rollouts. T-Mobile has been rolling out HSPA+ at an impressive rate, Clearwire announced its intention to move to LTE, Verizon is betting big on LTE and looking for competitive marketing advantage over the course of the next 12 months. AT&T has been adding backhaul, upgrading to HSPA+ and planning for LTE all at once. Even the smaller carriers like MetroPCS are looking for competitive advantage with quicker LTE launch and beat others by carrying the first LTE smartphone. (We will be releasing the next edition of our “State of the “Mobile” Broadband Nation” paper later this year)

As we had mentioned last year, the mobile data traffic kept on growing disproportional to the revenues. A series of solutions have come into the market from players big and small. We released the second edition of our in-depth research paper on data growth - "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era"  last quarter.

We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q2 2010 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 7, 16)

ARPU (Slides 8-11)

Subscribers (Slides 12-14)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Data Traffic (Slide 15)

· As we noted in our last update, the data traffic is now significantly more than the voice traffic. By 1H 2010, the average US consumer was consuming approximately 230 MB/mo up 50% in 6 months. The good news is that there are several solutions available and are being invented that will help manage the data growth starting with the tiered pricing plans.

To discuss all these trends and more, we are putting together a unique Mobile Future Forward Executive Summit and are fortunate to have the company of some of the sharpest minds in the industry, folks who both have the vision to shape the evolution and the authority to invest billions of dollars this decade to make things happen. Hope to see you in Seattle on Sept 8th.

Abhi Ingle, VP, AT&T; Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio; Anand Chandrasekhar, SVP & GM, Intel; Bob Azzi, SVP - Network, Sprint Nextel; Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype; Danny Bowman, President, Sprint Nextel; David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures; Dr. Boris Nikolic, Sr. Program Officer, Global Health & Discovery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow & Director, User Experience, Intel; Dr. Greg Brandenberg, CEO, Columbia Basin Health Association; Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO, Mobisante; Dr. Suzanne Clough, Chief Medical Officer, WellDoc; Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile, Facebook; Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T; Hank Skorny, SVP, Media Mobile Cloud Computing, Real Networks; Jack Kennedy, EVP, News Corp; Joe Sims, Lead Partner - Digital Convergence , Booz & Company; Jon Stross, VP & GM - Babycenter, Johnson & Johnson; Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave; Krishna Vedati, SVP & GM - Mobile, AT&T Interactive; Lirong Shi, President, ZTE; Louis Gump, VP Mobile, CNN; Mario Queiroz, VP - Product Management - Android, Google; Mark Selby, VP, Nokia; Matt Bross, CTO and Vice Chairman, Huawei; Michael Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire; Neville Ray, Chief Network Officer, T-Mobile ; Omar Javaid, CEO, BBDO; Paul Palmieri, Founder and CEO, Millennial Media; Rob Glaser, Chairman, Real Networks and Partner, Accel; Sean Cai, VP - Advanced Technology, ZTE; Stephen David, Former CIO, Proctor & Gamble; Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo; Takayuki Hoshuyama, CEO D2 Communications; Tim Chang, Partner, NVP;Tony Lewis, VP, Verizon; Wim Sweldens, President, Alcatel-Lucent

Each panel discussion will involve luminaries/experts on specific topics, for e.g.

Opportunities in Mobile

Mike Sievert, CCO, Clearwire

Dr. Genevieve Bell, Fellow, Intel

Shi Lirong, President, ZTE

Subba Rao, CEO, Tata DoCoMo

Evolution of Communication/ Engagement

Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype

Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile, Facebook

Mario Queiroz, VP, Google

David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures

The size of the panel will be small and the time duration long so we can delve deep into the issues and questions. For more panel, speaker, sponsor, and program details, please visithttp://www.mobilefutureforward.com

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Nov 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2010.

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

Mobile Industry 1H 2010 Assessment July 8, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Gaming, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Partnership, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

Mobile Industry 1H 2010 Assessment

http://chetansharma.com/1H10mobileassessment.htm

As the mobile world approaches the 5 billion subscription landmark, it is time to do a half yearly assessment of 2010. We will have our official Q2 2010 analysis for the US market in Aug and the global analysis for 1H 2010 in Sept after all the numbers are in. In the meantime, it might be worthwhile to take a stock of the first 6 months, the ensuing trends and what they mean for the long-term.

Mobile Ecosystem has become much more complex

In case you didn’t notice, the competitive landscape has changed significantly over the last 6-12 months. The fine line between partners and competitors can get obliterated in a quarter. Apple is competing with Cisco, Comcast is going after AT&T’s business, Visa and Verizon want to be the payment channel of choice, Amazon is gunning for Microsoft’s enterprise business, Kodak is competing with Yahoo, so on and so forth. One product launch, one acquisition, can change the game in an instant.  And this is only the beginning.

Network evolution: more capacity, more bandwidth, tremendous usage

We have covered this topic in detail in our paper - Managing growth and profits in the Yottabyte era. As we had predicted, the tiering of pricing plan has started in the US which is actually a good thing. It will force some discipline and technology innovation to solve the longer-term problem of network congestion. While AT&T got things in motion, market forces will take care of the right pricing and GB levels in the coming months. Data consumption on TeliaSonera and Clearwire’s network is a good indicator of what’s to come with 3-4x the usage compared to its counterparts.

New sources of revenue: mobile advertising, commerce, and more

Regular readers know that we have been bullish on the mobile advertising space for a long time. Over the last 6 months or so, some of the pieces are coming together though significant amount of work remains. Sergio Zyman, former CMO of Coca Cola once said “There is only one rule: advertising must sell.” And nothing will sell better than mobile. Period. While North America and Western Europe have been slow to wake up to the mobile commerce opportunities, in Japan, it is already a multi-billion dollar industry. Several trials are underway that are going to help open up the western market in the next 12 months for significant opportunities. In fact, the pie for the mobile services will keep on growing bigger but so will the number of players who want a piece of it. This will set up an interesting tug-of-war for the next couple of years

It’s the iPhone, dude!

Just when the competitors think they are all caught up with Apple,  Steve Jobs and co. releases a new product that raises the bar further. Google, Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola have done well in emulating Apple while Microsoft and Nokia have fallen behind. The embarrassing launch and demise of KIN is a example of how confused things are for some of the players. While both Microsoft and Nokia are capable for mounting good comebacks, it will take more than an org change and a sprinkle of holy water. Android will easily outsell iPhone just by the law of arithmetic but Apple’s secret weapon is iTunes. With over 150M billing relationships, it has fostered a great apps ecosystem that others will find hard to replicate entirely. While some point to Apple’s tiny marketshare, wall street looks at the fat margins - rewarding Apple by making it the most valuable technology company surpassing Microsoft in a major tech tremor. Google has run the mobile chess game with great acumen so far. Despite the Nexus experiment, the explosion of the superphone category has gone according to the plan. Overall, most of the western operators are selling smartphones at 50%+ levels each quarter.

Always On Real-Time Access

The always-connected vision of the late Mark Weiser is finally approaching some realization. Mobile is so perfectly suited for cloud computing. The younger generation is growing with the expectation that they can get access to any content from any device anywhere. The constraints and friction that doesn’t allow them to do that is just not acceptable. As such, the mobile industry is scrambling to provide tools and technologies that help the digerati access content at will. All this has to be designed and developed against the current network, content, and device constraints and evolution paths. Whether it is access to music or movies for a 15 year old or availability of the entire corporate knowledgebase, information will need to be available at a touch of a button. Companies big and small are investing in the infrastructure and software tools to make this happen. We are likely to see some interesting launches in the next 12 months.

Battle for the analytical mind - data, context and intelligence drives everything

Many people don’t realize that the battle for the consumer of 2015-2020 has already begun. The company that has the best understanding about the most consumers will have a pole position in the mobile ecosystem. Players like Google, Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, China Mobile, Disney, AT&T, Vodafone, Motorola, and others are amassing a lot of information on individuals. Besides Google and Apple, Facebook has quietly become one of the most important players in the mobile ecosystem with its phenomenal reach across many countries, tremendous stickiness of the app, and innovative onboarding process of the carriers. Of course, data is a double edged sword - it can provide enormous benefits to consumers in terms of intelligence, experience, and engagement and can also prove to be problematic when privacy and data breaches happen. In fact, that will be one of the tightest ropes many including the regulators will have to walk this decade - figuring out what they call in Swedish - logam - the right balance.

Apps vs. the Web

Recently, the ecosystem has been more enamored with the apps vs. the web debate than the early departure of Brazil and Argentina from the world cup. It is rather a silly debate. As we mentioned in our apps economy paper, both worlds will coexist for a long time. What matters for the developers is the “reach” of a certain platform or technology and the “cost” and “potential” of that reach. For the user, the only thing that matters is what’s available on “their” device. Obviously, the capabilities of the mobile browser will grow over time and it will make more sense to build certain category of applications for the web vs. on the native platforms but developers live and die in the present.

Internet of Things

Nokia took the leadership stance of announcing that all of their smartphones by the next year will have NFC. You can expect pretty much all major OEMs following the same trend which means that hundreds of millions of devices will be equipped with a chipset that will enable new experiences, applications and services. Though we still need to do a lot of work to complete the end-to-end ecosystem, we are getting close. Further, all major carriers have created separate units to address the M2M and emerging devices opportunity. iPad showed what’s possible - it fundamentally created a new leisure computing category. Also, iPad (and similar form factor devices) will find good usage in the enterprise as well. Pretty soon, it will be hard to imagine a computing device without the communication capability. Operators will have to release pricing plans to accommodate such an evolution.

Nurturing ecosystems - fight for the developer mindshare

It is good to be a developer in 2010. The success of many players goes through developersville. The love fest won’t last forever though, it will depend on how vibrant the various ecosystems become and how profitable individual developer shops are over the course of time. One thing Microsoft did very well with the windows empire was to create a web of partners and developers who were incented to use the tools and develop for the platform. In a more fragmented world of mobile, things are a bit complicated. Developers don’t have time or the energy to go after the newest, shiniest toy, what matters in the end is the “cost” to develop, “reach/distribution” of the platform, and “potential” of the reach. Players who don’t consciously make an effort to make developers thrive in their ecosystem will see their developer efforts collapse like house of cards. While the media attention is squarely on iOS and Android, we are not heading down the duopoly path as the dynamics of the mobile ecosystem are significantly different from that of the PC. RIM, Nokia, Samsung and others will do well, the fight is over the relative rankings in the pecking order.

Shifts in the revenue sand dunes

By the end of 2010, the global ondeck revenues will be overtaken by the offdeck revenues. As the smartphone penetration grows, it is less likely that the user will purchase VAS from the operator. While the carrier gets a healthy access revenue of $15-40 or more/month, the VAS business is shrinking for many. Some operators are trying to extract some value but are likely to follow T-Mobile’s path and give up on the smartphone appstore eventually. On the featurephones and probably low-tier smartphones, operator do have a role to play but perhaps some of it can be outsourced to other appstore providers so that they can focus on higher-margin services. We are going to see a readjusting of the appstores again in the next 12-24 months with the weaker ones whittling away from the landscape.

New experiences - display, interaction and commerce

The man-machine interaction took a significant leap with the introduction of the iPhone. Now the touch-interface is embedded in our evolutionary genes. There is significant work going into accomplishing more with less friction with the help of new interfaces and experiences that can like trying out a new outfit in front of a mirror - at home or in the store and with a flick of finger - choose the color, purchase it, and get it shipped. The amount of time it takes to “accomplish any given task” is going to reduce dramatically. With the help of contextual sensors, extreme personalization, and brainiac software, we will take automation to a new level. This will lead to new experiences that will enable more commerce, social interaction and participation, and general awareness and intelligence about every day things. Examples like Kinect, Augmented Reality, Projection displays are just the start of the decade when the display and interaction paradigms will be fundamentally redefined.

Reallocation of revenues - winners and losers are decided in reallocation

If we take a look at the spending habits of the US consumers on “access and communication services” which includes the spending on Telephone, Cable, Internet, and Cell phones, the total “access” spending over the course of last decade has been consistently around 4% of the total personal income per capita. However, the share of each of the services has been changing steadily. Telephone used to have 65% share of the spending but is going to be below 30% by end of 2010. Others have been climbing at the expense of telephone revenues, especially the cellphones which since 2007 command the highest share. So, the overall spending has stayed constant while there has been significant reallocation of spending. Similarly, within cell phone services, data has gone from being less than 1% of the overall revenues to over 35% in 2010 and is going to be more than 50% of the overall revenue mix by early 2013. Mobile operators will need to figure out how to manage these reallocation undercurrents and maintain the overall life time value of the customer. It will come from re-architecting of the business and technology practices as well through the introduction of new services.

Mobile takes off in Verticals

Mobile has become a full-fledged computing platform and other industries are taking notice. There is significant work going on in the mHealth, mRetail, mCommerce, mEducation, mEnergy, and others to keep things busy for the next few years. There are some really innovative startups focused on making use of the computing power that the device affords and turn them into full-fledged medical instruments. Add the communication bit and you can see the revolution happening in front of your eyes. The impact on saving lives and quality of health care will be tremendous - worldwide. The regulators and the legacy players will need to keep up. As we mentioned before, the NFC wave is coming and if all goes well, it will change the retail experience. Stay tuned.

(Mobile) World is flat

There is a significant readjusting of players going on right now with some of the Asian players flexing their muscles for dominant share of the market. Competition is driving more M&A, the gravity of the mobile data world is slowly shifting from Japan and Korea to the US with Verizon overtaking the long time leader NTT DoCoMo in terms of quarterly mobile data revenues. India’s Bharti became the number 5 operator after completing the acquisition of Zain. On the device front, Samsung and LG have been ferocious in their pursuit of marketshare and have been rewarded well by their performance esp. in the North American market. HTC has undergone metamorphosis and has become a serious competitor. Many non-traditional brands like Dell, Garmin, HP, Cisco are also flexing their muscles in the space that has become the computing battleground. On the infrastructure front, ZTE and Huawei are going to make life difficult for some of the players. We can expect the big “M&As” to continue as the industry consolidates around the top 3 players in different markets and sectors. The local skirmishes will spill into the global arena. North American operators have been curiously silent on the global front. Being the most lucrative mobile market probably has something to do with it  but we can expect some of the bigger players to go shopping in the coming days.

Regulatory Excursions

The much-awaited national broadband plan was finally unveiled earlier this year. The current FCC has done a good job of engaging the industry and informing the citizens, better than its predecessors. It is also taking a deeper interest in setting up guidelines for the industry. The Comcast ruling was a setback but FCC is moving ahead with its plans. It will be interesting to see the execution details and how things pan out over the course of this decade. Similarly, regulatory agencies in other nations are acutely aware of the role broadband plays in nations economy and competitiveness and what they need to do keep their country on track. The mad scramble for more spectrum is underway. FTC is also keeping a close eye on the mobile industry for privacy related violations. If someone has any doubts of how much regulators are likely to get involved in this matter should read through the settlement between the FTC and Twitter.

Scenario Analysis - more changes in the next 10 years than in the previous 100

Despite all the commotion, the excitement, and the turbulence in the ecosystem, the trajectory of the winners and losers is not set. Like the Chaos theory, a lot depends on how the dynamic elements of the mobile universe effect and react to changes.  Players will do well to have strategies in place per scenario so they can adapt quickly and keep the mother ship in the right direction. We can expect more changes in the next 10 years than in the previous 100. The triggers for various scenarios will vary - regulatory, competitive, technology, business model, consumer adoption, economic - each of these can have an impact on how a trend becomes the fact of life.

To discuss all these trends and more, we are putting together a unique Mobile Future Forward Executive Summit and are fortunate to have the company of some of the sharpest minds in the industry, folks who both have the vision to shape the evolution and the authority to invest billions of dollars this decade to make things happen. Hope to see you in Seattle on Sept 8th.

First 25 readers to use the discount code FUTBOL get $200 off the regular price.

Abhi Ingle, VP, AT&T; Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio; Anand Chandrasekhar, SVP & GM, Intel; Bob Azzi, SVP - Network, Sprint Nextel; Chamath Palihapitiya, VP - Growth, Mobile, Intl, Facebook; Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype; Danny Bowman,President, Sprint Nextel; David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures; Dr. Boris Nikolic, Sr. Program Officer, Global Health & Discovery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow & Director, User Experience, Intel; Dr. Greg Brandenberg,CEO, Columbia Basin Health Association; Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO, Mobisante; Dr. Suzanne Clough, Chief Medical Officer, WellDoc; Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T; Hank Skorny, SVP, Media Mobile Cloud Computing, Real Networks; Jack Kennedy, EVP, News Corp; Joe Sims, Lead Partner - Digital Convergence , Booz & Company; Jon Stross, VP & GM - Babycenter, Johnson & Johnson; Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave; Krishna Vedati, SVP & GM - Mobile, AT&T Interactive; Lirong Shi, President, ZTE; Louis Gump, VP Mobile, CNN; Mario Queiroz, VP - Product Management - Android, Google; Mark Selby, VP, Nokia; Matt Bross,CTO and Vice Chairman, Huawei; Michael Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire;Neville Ray, Chief Network Officer, T-Mobile ; Omar Javaid, CEO, BBDO; Paul Palmieri, Founder and CEO, Millennial Media; Rob Glaser, Chairman, Real Networks and Partner, Accel;Sean Cai, VP - Advanced Technology, ZTE; Stephen David, Former CIO, Proctor & Gamble;Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo; Takayuki Hoshuyama, CEO D2 Communications; Tony Lewis, VP, Verizon; Wim Sweldens, President, Alcatel-Lucent

Each panel discussion will involve luminaries/experts on specific topics, for e.g.

M2M/Internet of Things

Danny Bowman, President, Sprint

Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio

Tony Lewis, VP, Verizon Wireless

Mark Selby, VP, Nokia

Evolution of Communication/ Engagement

Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP - Mobile, Facebook

Mario Queiroz, VP - Android, Google

David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures

The size of the panel will be small and the time duration long so we can delve deep into the issues and questions. For more details, please visit http://www.mobilefutureforward.com

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

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

Announcing Mobile Future Forward Executive Summit June 14, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, 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 Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

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You have seen some hints of the project that we have been working on for sometime. We are proud to announce “Mobile Future Forward” Executive summit to be held in Seattle on Sept 8th, 2010.

Registration is Open Now. Early Bird expires June 30th 2010.

MFF is a gathering of some of the most brilliant minds in the mobile industry. The goal is to look at how mobile is likely to evolve over the course of this decade. We couldn’t have done this without the tremendous support of our excellent sponsors who are paving the way in their respective segments.

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The speaker list includes the who’s who of the mobile industry:

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Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T

Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo,

Mike Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire

Louis Gump, VP Mobile, CNN,

Paul Palmieri, Founder and CEO, Millennial Media

Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO, Mobisante

Abhi Ingle, VP, AT&T Wireless

Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave

Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio

Stephen David, Former CIO, Proctor & Gamble

Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow, User Experience, Intel

Hank Skorny, SVP, Real Networks

Jon Stross, VP & GM - Babycenter, Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Suzanne Sysko, Chief Medical Officer, WellDoc

Dr. Boris Nikolic, Sr. Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Krishna Vedati, SVP & GM - Mobile, AT&T Interactive

Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype

Russ McGuire, VP, Sprint Nextel

Jack Kennedy, EVP, News Corp

David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures

Anand Chandrasekhar, SVP and GM, Intel

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP Growth/Mobile, Facebook

Rob Glaser, Chairman, Real Networks

Wim Sweldens, President – Wireless Division, Alcatel Lucent

Takayuki Hoshuyama, CEO, D2 Communications

Neville Ray, SVP, T-Mobile

Bob Azzi, SVP—Networks, Sprint Nextel

Mario Queiroz, VP—Android, Google

Matt Bross, Global CTO, Huawei

We will be covering the following topics in detail:

You can read more about what you can expect at the executive summit in the following whitepaper.

Mobile Future Forward Paper

I hope to see you there.

Chetan Sharma

Chief Curator

Mobile Future Forward

Global Mobile Data Market Update 2009 March 31, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, 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 Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Storage, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments

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Executive Summary

The Global Wireless Markets continued to grow rapidly especially in India and China where the carriers (combined) are adding almost 30M new subscriptions every month. Amongst the two, India is outpacing China 2:1. China touched 750M subscriptions while India crossed 525M by the end of 2009. With 4.6B subscriptions, the global subscriptions penetration was above 68%.

The global mobile data revenues reached $220B and mobile data now contributes 26% of the overall global mobile service revenues.

As expected, the overall global mobile revenues stayed pretty flat for the year at around $1.1 trillion as many regions were hit by the recession and the competition pushed the ARPU lower for many operators. While the countries like US, Japan, China, and India showed very little signs of pullback, most of Europe and the developing world experienced a decline in overall service revenues in 2009. All the major markets have their data contribution percentages above 10% now.

For some of the leading operators, data is now contributing almost 50% of the overall revenues. However, the increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU for most operators. NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the carrier ranking in terms of the mobile data service revenues, Verizon Wireless which became #2 replacing China Mobile and is slowly edging towards the #1 spot and is likely to overtake DoCoMo within the next few quarters.

Though 4G as a standard hasn’t been defined yet, the discussions around LTE and WiMAX deployments grew intense. Telia Sonera became the first operator to commercially launch LTE. At CTIA, Sprint/HTC became the first players to launch a WiMAX smartphone and MetroPCS/Samsung took the honors for the LTE smartphone.

2009 also marked the year when the global data traffic (monthly) exceeded the global voice traffic. In the US, the yearly mobile data traffic exceeded the voice traffic for the first time.

We are also entering the phase of global mega-mergers in telecom. Bharti Airtel of India just acquired Kuwait-based Zain Group to become the 5th largest telecom group in the world (at the end of 2009, it was #9). There are now 14 telecom groups with 100M or more subscriptions. While China Mobile’s ARPU is 1/5th of its western counterparts, it operates its business at higher margin, around 51%. There are a number of global players mainly in Europe and Asia who have mastered the art of running lean operations and if they have good bank balance they are going to go shopping in the days ahead.

From the revenue perspective, the $50 billion revenue club is more exclusive with China Mobile, Vodafone, AT&T Mobility, and Verizon Wireless as its sole members.

As we sit at the cusp of the iPad era, there is a bigger transformation taking place and that is of the connected consumer electronic devices (CEDs). Few years from now, most popular CEDs will have connectivity. We are also approaching the start of phase where pricing of access will start to morph - we will see the introduction of family data plans (something we have been advocating for some time), ability to connect multiple devices to the same GB plan, more granular use plans (per session/day/week/mo/yr etc, roll-over GBs anyone?). As the number of connected devices/consumer increases, we will start worrying about Average Margin Per User (AMPU) or Average Margin Per Connection (AMPC) because ARPU won’t quite capture the dynamics of the industry.

Exciting times indeed.

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.

Impact of Global Recession

  • Telecom in general fared better than other industries. In some regions, it hardly caused a tremor. However, in most nations, the impact was felt by the operators. Amongst the 40 major operators we studied, SK Telecom, 3 Australia, KTF, T-Mobile Netherlands, Rogers, Softbank Japan, Singtel, Vodafone Italy, T-Mobile Germany, 3 Sweden, Telstra, China Unicom, and Vodafone Germany experienced increase in both the data ARPU and the overall ARPU during 2009. Some of increase was due to the fluctuation in international currencies e.g. Korea.

  • Looking at the data at a country level, most nations noted a decline in overall ARPU. Only Venezuela, Pakistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Australia, and Poland showed positive increase in ARPU since 2008.

  • Rule of Three is kicking in most markets with smaller players having to consider the M&A option to remain viable. T-Mobile/Orange, Bharti/Zain tie-ups are just the start of that process. We are likely to see many international mergers in 2010 and beyond as power in the mobile ecosystem self-adjusts.

  • 5 new players joined the 100M subscriptions club. The new members are: Bharti Airtel (India), MTN Group (South Africa), Orascom (Egypt), Etisalat (UAE), and MTS (Russia). The top 9 telecom groups in the world are: China Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica, America Movil, Telenor, T-Mobile, China Unicom, TeliaSonera, and Orange.

Service Revenues

  • US extended its lead over Japan as the most valuable mobile data market in service revenue with US adding $44.56B vs. $32.5B for Japan in 2009. China with $20.3B was ranked number 3. US registered the highest growth amongst the top 3 with over 40% increase from EOY 2008 levels followed by Japan and China.
  • The top 10 nations by service revenues are: US, China, Japan, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Brazil, Spain, and India.
  • The top 10 nations by data service revenues are: US, Japan, China, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Spain, and Korea.
  • NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings with over $16B in data services revenue in 2009. Almost 46% of its overall revenue now comes from data services. DoCoMo also crossed the 95% 3G mark.
  • NTT DoCoMo was followed by Verizon Wireless, China Mobile, AT&T, KDDI, Sprint Nextel, Softbank Mobile, T-Mobile USA, O2 UK, and China Unicom to round up the top 10 operators by wireless data service revenues.
  • Each of the top 5 carriers exceeded $10B in yearly mobile data service revenues in 2009
  • Data revenues for the top 10 operators now account for almost 43% of the global mobile data revenues.
  • The biggest jump in data revenues was experienced by Verizon, Softbank, and AT&T. DoCoMo saw an 11% increase for the year.
  • Most of the operators in the developed nations are contemplating future strategies to boost data revenues such that the decline in voice revenues is at least compensated for. There are very few operators who have experienced increase in overall ARPU.
  • China reported approximately $20.3B in data revenues for 2009 and the percentage contribution from data services is around 32%, data ARPU is around $3.2. For India, data ARPU continues to stay below $0.50 as most of the new adds are voice only subscribers and there is continued price pressure in the market.
  • China Mobile remains the most valuable telecom operator with over $195B in market cap. It is followed by Vodafone at around $122B. Telecom groups in mature markets are under enormous pressure to either come up with a global expansion strategy or accelerate their existing plans.
  • In 2009, SMS’s vice like grip on data revenues continues to loosen a bit with many carriers seeing an increase in non-SMS data revenues. On an average, Japan and Korea have over 70-75% of their revenue coming from non-SMS data applications, US around 50-60%, and Western Europe around 20-40%.
  • NTT DoCoMo has been at the cutting edge of the mobile data evolution by creating new markets. They are exploring new technologies and social experiments ahead of almost anybody else in the market. Our long history with the Japanese and Korean markets has taught us that while the individual strategies in each market will differ, one should study the trends, technologies, and ecosystem dynamics in these markets to get a sense of what’s coming.

· From the revenue perspective, the $50 billion revenue club has limited membership with China Mobile, Vodafone, AT&T Mobility, and Verizon Wireless as its sole members.

ARPU

  • Most of the major operators around the world have double digit percentage contribution to their overall ARPU from data services. Operators like DoCoMo, and Softbank are over 46%. KDDI, 3 Australia, 3 Italy, 3 UK, Vodafone UK, O2 UK, Telstra, and 3 Sweden exceeded 35% and many others are on the verge of crossing the 30% mark.
  • NTT DoCoMo reported the highest data ARPU for the year while Rogers took away the honors for the highest overall ARPU. Other notable percentage increases in ARPU were from 3 Italy, SK Telecom, KTF, T-Mobile Germany, 3 Sweden, and T-Mobile Austria. The Japanese operators saw a decline in ARPU by 3%.
  • The biggest percentage contribution by data ARPU has been consistently registered (since mid 2002) by two Philippines carriers – Smart Communications and Globe Telecom with over 53% (or $2) contribution coming from the data services.
  • Softbank of Japan looks set to be the first major operator (outside of Philippines) with more revenues coming from data services than voice.

Mobile Data Traffic

  • We have been calling attention to the tremendous increase in mobile data traffic for some time. The discussion has hit mainstream and many operators are scrambling to nail-down their short-term and long-term strategies to manage the data traffic growth in their networks. See our paper on the subject "Managing growth and profits in the Yottabyte era." The recommendations discussed in the paper are slowly being adopted by various vendors and operators worldwide.
  • The global mobile data traffic exceeded an Exabyte for the first time in 2009. In fact, the data usage is growing so fast that this year, the two territories experiencing the most growth - North America and Western Europe are both going to exceed an Exabyte in mobile data traffic.
  • 2009 also marked the year when the global data traffic (monthly) exceeded the global voice traffic.
  • For many of the superphone heavy operators, devices like iPhone and Android account for more than 50% of their total data traffic.
  • 2010 will mark the first year when the total number of mobile broadband connections will exceed the total number of fixed broadband connections.

For more mobile data traffic analysis, please stay tuned for the second edition of our Yottabyte research

Subscriptions

  • India continues to be the hottest market on the planet in terms of net-adds with (again) a world record-setting month in Jan 2010 with 19.9 million net adds. To give you a perspective, this is almost 1.5 times  the number of subscribers US added in the whole year. It is like adding a Canadian wireless market every month. For the year 2009, India added 177 million subs vs. 106 million for China. Combined, one year of growth in these two market is equivalent to the size of the third largest market - the US, to date. Making money on the net-adds is a different proposition all together (more discussion on the international market in our global market update later this month)
  • Thanks to the explosive growth in the emerging markets, the global mobile market went past 4.6B in 2009 and is likely to cross the 5B mark in 2010. The global mobile subscriptions now represent over 68% of human population on planet earth.
  • China crossed the 700M subscription mark in July while India’s total went past 500 in Nov. In the meantime, US crossed the 90% subscriptions mark in 2009.
  • In the last 10 years, the growth patterns in the mobile industry have completely reversed. In 1998, the developed world accounted for 76% of the subscriber base, in 2008; the percentages have flipped with developing world now accounting for 76% of the subscriber base and are likely to increase to 85% by 2018.
  • The top 10 nations by subscriptions are: China, India, US, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Pakistan and Italy.
  • China Mobile became the first operator (and likely to be the only one for a very long time) to cross the 500M mark. It remains the #1 carrier in terms of the total number of subscriptions followed by Vodafone. Telefonica, América Móvil, Telenor, T-Mobile, China Unicom, TeliaSonera, Orange, and Bharti Airtel round up the top 10 largest telecom groups in the world.

Mobile Apps

· The total number of app downloads in 2009 reached 7 billion resulting in approximately $4.1B in revenues 12% of which was from mobile advertising.

· The number of non-carrier appstores jumped to 38 from 8 in the previous year.

· While Asia had the highest percentage of the download share, North America had the highest share of the apps revenue accounting for over 50% of the total revenue.

· The paid ASP in 2009 was approximately $1.9 and the advertising revenue generated from the free applications was approximately $0.09/user/app/year

For a more detailed analysis of the mobile apps market, please see our paper “Sizing the Global Mobile Apps Market”

Others

  • Messaging still accounts for the lion-share of data service revenues. However, other services such as Mobile Music, Mobile TV and video streaming, Voice navigation, PNDs, Mobile Games, IMS, LBS, Mobile advertising, and others have gradually chipped away the share from messaging. Alternate devices with wholesale cellular agreements are also flooding the market. In Japan, Mobile Commerce is expected to do much better than Mobile Advertising. Though not much talked about, enterprise applications are also being adopted widely esp. in North America as more workers become mobile and corporations seek efficiencies in their operations and supply-chain.
  • Nokia dominated the year as usual but the revenue share is shrinking and so is the lucrative smartphone share. Apple, RIM, and Google are relentlessly attacking the top tier while Samsung, LG, and others giving a tough fight for the bottom tier. We see a new middle tier emerging that has the form factor of a featurephone and functionality of a smartphone. The smartphone category is getting further split into regular qwerty smartphones like Blackberry and the touch and full browser based superphones like the iPhone and Droid.
  • The year was dominated by several blockbuster device launches like the iPhone 3GS.
  • Next few years will be big for infrastructure providers as many countries both developed and developing get into upgrading their infrastructure.
  • Willcom, the small Japanese carrier that started the flat-rate unlimited phenomenon filed for bankruptcy last month.
  • In the US, the increase in messaging volume catapulted US as the number one texting nation by messages/user/month going past the long-time leader Philippines.
  • Deployment of 3.5G technologies is in full swing. However, it is the discussion of 4G that is occupying the headlines, even though 4G hasn’t been fully defined yet and the current candidates for 4G are nowhere near the performance goals of 4G (150Mbps/50+Mbps). Many larger operators have laid out their plans for deploying LTE starting this year.
  • We are also seeing regulators playing an active role in making the markets competitive and attractive in the long-term.

· The velocity with which the smartphones are being introduced into the market esp. the western markets, one wonders if in five years, we will be using the moniker to describe devices and if the "dumbness" in the device market will be practically eliminated. Led by Apple’s Appstore success, significant investments are pouring into the appstore world. In parallel, the debate over apps vs. mobile web is intensifying. The implications of the transition will be significant on the ecosystem on many levels.

2010 will be a critical year on many fronts. As usual, we will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in May 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be released in Sept 2010.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

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

US Wireless Data Market Update: Q4 2009 and 2009 March 2, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Location Based Services, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q4 2009 and 2009

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http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdate2009.htm

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 24% Y/Y to exceed $11.8B in mobile data service revenues and thus exceeded $10B for each of the four quarters in 2009. For the calendar year 2009, the overall mobile data revenues for the US market grew 29% ending at $44 billion for the year (1% shy of our $44.5 billion estimate). For the calendar year 2010, we expect a 20% increase in mobile data service revenues accounting for over $53 billion in service revenues.

Verizon Wireless edged past China Mobile to become the second biggest mobile data operator by revenues.

The US subscription penetration was approximately 92% at the end of 2009. If we take out the demographics of 5 yrs and younger, the mobile penetration is 99%.

The messaging volume increased 7% from last quarter catapulting US as the number one texting nation by messages/user/month going past the long-time leader Philippines.

For the first time in the history of the US wireless industry, the data traffic exceeded voice traffic for the full calendar year. With almost 400 terabytes of data traffic, it exceeded voice traffic by a significant margin. We expect that the ratio between the two traffic sources is going to double in 2010.

Apple continued its iTunes juggernaut and if measured by billing relationships (of course not all accounts are mobile) Apple is  now the 10th largest mobile operator in the world.

Q4 2009 reported a 5.9% increase in GDP compared to the 3.5% increase in Q3 when the recession technically ended. While the overall economy is sputtering towards growth, wireless industry in the US remains vibrant as is evident by the increase in revenues and net-adds which jumped more than 5 million for the first time in 2 years.

What to expect in the coming months?

Christmas quarter generally yields best results of the year. Though the US mobile industry came out pretty unscathed from the recession, it will benefit from the improving economy. As such we expect the US mobile data service revenues to gain 20% to reach $53 billion in 2010. Mobile data will continue to be the engine of growth for the ecosystem providing at least 33% of the overall service revenues by the end of 2010.

The furious cycle of device releases is accelerating and one wonders if the longevity of each device is starting to shrink as even the hit devices like Droid and Nexus One are not allowed enough room to fully capitalize on their initial momentum. The app economy has been expanding as well. Part strategic, part hysteria, everyone is jumping into the pool to tap into the app river to pull in some revenues or use it more strategically to sell more devices, services, or advertising. (Stay tuned for more research on the subject in the coming days)

Microsoft is attempting a comeback with its 7 series devices though the delay in handset release as well as the lack of backward compatibility gives enough time for competitors to plan their moves. We are glad to see the industry going past the “PC like icons” for mobile phones (something we have advocating for more than 10 years, most recently in our paper “The Untapped Mobile Data Opportunity.” This will enhance user experience and help in extracting true value out of the mobile devices.

From the various announcements this year, we can expect an action packed 2010. However, it will be also an year of shakeouts with several key M&A transactions that will winnow down the competitive landscape in many segments.

Q1 2010 will also be important from the regulatory point of view with the national broadband plan being unveiled later this month. With the looming spectrum shortage, regulatory bodies can have a significant impact on the competitiveness of a nation. For example, in India, regulators haven’t been able to get their acts together for the past 3-4 years and its citizens continue to suffer from 2G. Similarly, many countries in South America have imposed unnecessary spectrum caps. The industry and regulators need to work hand-in-hand to make progress beyond speeches and paperwork.

To start planning for 4G, 5G, and beyond, US should think about rolling a 50 year broadband plan. While more spectrum is always helpful, will we have all the spectrum we need in 2050? or do we need to invent new technologies and business models that use spectrum more wisely? This topic will keep the industry occupied for some time to come. (Former FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin will be headlining our Mobile Breakfast Series event on March 10th to discuss the Spectrum Crises).

2010 will also be the year of network expansion with HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE all coming into play in the US. As we had anticipated last year, the mobile data traffic kept on growing disproportional to the revenues. At the end of 2009, the US mobile data traffic was almost 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008. To truly tackle the problem head-on, industry will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively. We discussed mobile data traffic in much more detail in our popular paper "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era." We will be issuing an update later this quarter so stay tuned.

It is also good to see the mobile industry expanding into vertical segments like Health and Retail. More discussion to come on these topics.

We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q4 2009 and 2009 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 8, 17)

ARPU (Slides 9-12)

Subscribers (Slides 13-15)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Policy and Regulations

Open

Data Traffic (Slide 16)

· For the first time in the history of the US wireless industry, the data traffic exceeded voice traffic for the whole calendar year. With almost 400 terabytes of data traffic, it exceeded voice traffic by a significant margin. We expect that the ratio between the two traffic sources is going to double in 2010.

Misc.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in May 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in March 2010.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Should you have any questions about navigating or understanding the economic and competitive icebergs, please feel free to drop us a line.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

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

2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey January 3, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, 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 Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Storage, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Uncategorized, Unified Messaging, Usability, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 6 comments

2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey

http://www.chetansharma.com/MobilePredictions2010.htm

Mobile Predictions Survey (pdf)

Mobile Predictions Survey (ppt)

First things first. From all of us at Chetan Sharma Consulting, we wish you and yours a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010. Thanks to all who participated in our 2010 Mobile Predictions Annual Survey. We have found it is the best way to think about the trends coming our way.

Before we dive into the survey results, let’s do a quick wrap-up of the year that was. Well, since we  just completed one heck of a mobile decade, let’s do a quick jog down the memory lane.

The Last Decade: 2000-2009

Each new decade brings its own consumer and technology trends. During the 2000s mobile cemented its place in the global society fabric, the use of mobility became addictive and pervasive, to be without mobile seemed a curse and innovation blossomed and took user expectations to new heights.

decadeglobal

From a pure statistical point of view, the global mobile subscription penetration grew from 12% in 2000 to approximately 68% in 2009 - phenomenal by any measure. The overall revenues grew over 400%, the data revenue grew 32,600% and the total subscriptions grew 563%. NTT DoCoMo paved the way with the i-mode launch in 1999 and they were the operator to emulate throughout the last decade, leading every single year in data revenues, in new application and service revenue sources, and in innovation and risk taking. They tried to export the success to other regions with little reward but DoCoMo clearly led the industry in taking mobile devices where they have never gone before.

China and India were late to the party but during the second half of the decade caught up with the western world and eventually surpassed all nations becoming number one and two nations by subscriptions respectively. In 2006, China Mobile became the most valuable operator passing Vodafone.

Mobile devices went significant transformation as well. From the early Bluetooth, camera, and music phones to the iPhones, the Storms, and the Androids, the industry was transformed by the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. While Bluetooth, sleek designs, camera phone defined the first half of the decade, the second half was all about the applications and the mobile web. While Nokia dominated the entire decade in terms of the sales and profits, having missed the touch revolution, it leaves the decade a bit battered and a bit behind playing catch-up to the newcomers who profoundly disturbed the status quo.

decadeoem

Razr carried Motorola through 2006 when its global share peaked but was left to reinvent itself during the second half. It seems to have redeemed itself with the successful launch of Droid and upcoming Android devices. While many in the industry predicted RIM’s demise, the company has only gotten stronger and is looking good for the 2010s. The emergence of Samsung and LG as strong players in the mobile ecosystem was also a big story of the decade with Samsung increasing its share by 380% and LG by 575% becoming the number 2 and 3 players respectively.

While Microsoft’s Windows Mobile had an early start and the enterprise market share, it lost its way through several missteps and is on dialysis as we enter the new decade. One shouldn’t count WM out though but there is a lot of work to be done before it can capture the imagination of the ecosystem which has been sequestered away by iPhone and Android.

While many new application areas were introduced during 2000s, none was able to displace SMS as the leading app category by usage and revenues. However, it’s relative share has started to come down especially in North America and Western Europe.

As data usage grew, so did the data traffic bringing many data networks to their knees. We expect the data traffic consumption to only accelerate. Many people are underestimating the growth rates (as they did previously) and the strain the increase in consumption will put on the unprepared networks. Projector phones will take media  consumption to a new level. Data management is going to be big business in the 2010s.

Overall, the mobile industry became a trillion dollar industry in 2008 and the data revenues are increasing in almost all regions. Voice is being commoditized at fast pace and that has put the traditional economics and ecosystem wealth distribution in topsy-turvy.

decadeus

The US market also experienced tremendous growth with mobile data service revenues climbing 21,327% and becoming a mainstay in the mobile economy. In 2008 it crossed Japan as the most valuable mobile data market. US was late in adopting SMS but caught fire once American Idol started using it and even played a good role in the 2008 Presidential election in showcasing the power of mobile. Verizon started the decade being the number one operator and after trading places with Cingular and ATT grabbed the title back in 2009 (after the Alltel acquisition) to become the most dominant carrier in North America. Many smaller players competed by being innovative with Cincinnati Bell launching the fist UMA device, Sprint the first mobile eReader, and TMO launched the hotspot business which has now become an essential component of an operator strategy going forward.

Mobile is also replacing landline at a much faster pace than expected and within the first half of the new decade, we will have majority of the users using mobile vs. landline. Just like the last decade, this one starts with a new standard deployment of LTE that will keep operators and vendors busy throughout the decade. However, a lot of the developing markets will still be deploying 3G during the first half of the decade.

Infrastructure providers suffered the most in the decade bookended by the two recessions. Consolidation of giants (Alcatel Lucent, Nokia Siemens), bankruptcies of the famous (Nortel), and uprising of the upstarts (Huawei) pretty much defined the decade for the segment. Ericsson and Huawei enter the new decade from a strong position and looking to dominate the global markets.

The last decade was also marked by some prominent IP battles such as RIM vs. NTP, Qualcomm vs. Broadcom, Sony Ericsson vs. Samsung, Upaid vs. Satyam etc. (disclaimer: we worked on some of these cases and testified as an expert)

Here is our “subjective” list of movers and shakers of the last decade

2000-2009

2010-2019

Operator of the Decade

NTT DoCoMo

DCM led the way in almost all new category of apps and services. Its data service revenue was highest in each of the last 10 years

DCM will continue to lead along with KDDI and SKT. However, it might be the carriers with tremendous scale who will have the calling cards in the new decade. Watch for China Mobile, Vodafone/Verizon, Telefonica, Orange, Bharti, Unicom, Singtel

OEM of the Decade

Nokia

Nokia dominated in sales and revenues in each of the 10 years and while the last couple of years took some shine off its glorious past, the company nevertheless came out ahead

RIM, Apple, Nokia, Samsung

Smartphone OEM of the Decade

Apple

Smartphones as we know them were introduced by RIM but Apple defined the category and the subsequent ecosystem

This space will be very competitive with Apple still the gold standard to beat

Infrastructure Provider of the Decade

Ericsson

Its prime rivals struggled to stay afloat while Ericsson grabbed most of the revenues from infrastructure contracts and is very well positioned for the next decade

Ericsson is joined by Huawei as the two top infrastructure provider with Huawei giving tough competition for LTE contracts. ZTE and other Chinese infrastructure providers will also replace some of the incumbents

Nation that led in mobile data

Japan

This is a no brainer. Japan led with Korea a close second. Finland, UK also impressed

US, China, and India are well positioned to make an impression but most likely during the second half. Japan will still be a major player

Device of the decade

iPhone followed by Razr

iPhone impressed with form and function while Razr with its global sales making it a top selling device of all times

The field might get more crowded as all OEMs focusing on the smartphone category. However, OEMs who also focus on the 90% of the market w/o smartphones might win the top prize

The year 2009

Apple continued to dominate the headlines for the third straight year - whether it was the launch of 3GS or the upcoming introduction of the fabled tablet. Google too kept the ecosystem active. It has executed on its mobile strategy with brilliant acumen though causing significant consternation amongst its partners who it needs to be successful. It has been often misunderstood by competitors, regulators, and partners. Often, they have focused on Google’s tactics vs. its strategy. Look for these two players to be very aggressive as they try to fight for the mantle and the mindshare.

While Nokia leads the OEM space by a good distance, its momentum in the smartphone space left a lot of question marks. Motorola made a credible comeback with Cliq and Droid. Samsung and LG continued to innovate and expanded on their share of shipments and revenues.

India outpaced China in net-adds and crossed 500M though it is still quite behind China’s 750M. The M&A and the consolidation process became active in Asia with several of the big regional operators looking to flex muscles in the international markets. After several delays, China started deploying 3G while India again fumbled and postponed its 3G auction.

US mobile data market continued its pace in 2009 with each of the four quarters exceeding $10B in data service revenues. The gap between the top two operators and the rest grew to be the biggest in the decade and the industry weathered the recession with ease. There was a clear shift towards prepaid especially for Sprint, T-Mobile, and the tier 2/3 operators.

2009 was also defined by significant activity on the application front. With Facebook eclipsing 100M subscribers and Appstore exceeding 2.5B downloads, sky is the limit.

The year also saw an unprecedented growth in mobile data consumption. As we had predicted, for some of the networks, the growth proved to be a double-edged sword. Many in the industry are banking on LTE to help relieve the pain but will be surprised that depending solely on the upgrade strategy will not be enough. Declaring spectrum as a looming crisis, FCC also started tinkering with the mobile industry and the broadband plan.

Japan exceeded 90% in 3G penetration while US subscriptions ventured into the 90% territory. Most of western Europe is way past 130%.

All in all, a terrific year considering that we went through one of the worst recessions in a generation. As we bid goodbye to the last decade, Nexus One and iTablet only serve to whet our appetite of what’s to come.

On a personal note, we started our consulting practice this last decade as we were coming out of the bubble recession and have been fortunate to work with some of the brightest brains and companies in the global ecosystem. We also had a chance to work on some key initiatives that impacted the ecosystem in profound ways. Many thanks to our clients, colleagues, friends, and readers. We will be involved with many new initiatives over the next decade and are looking forward to the conversations through the research notes, books, speeches, panels, whitepapers, blog posts, facebook and twitter feeds, and more.

Thanks and Happy New Year. May the upcoming decade leave you happier, healthier, and more successful than the previous one.

As we eluded to earlier, 2010 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. 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 it includes industry movers and shakers participation. Executives and insiders (n=150) from leading mobile companies across the value chain and around the world opined to help us see what 2010 might bring.

11 names were randomly drawn for 3 special prizes. The winners are:

  1. Claire Boonstra, Cofounder, Layar- INQMobile 3G Chat device

  2. Michael Libes, CTO, GroundTruth - Open Mobile Book

  3. Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile, Facebook - Open Mobile Book

  4. Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo - Open Mobile Book

  5. Saumil Gandhi, Product Manager, Microsoft - Open Mobile Book

  6. Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Connected Planet - Open Mobile Book

  7. Mike Vanderwoude, VP & GM, Cincinnati Bell Wireless - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  8. Pinney Colton, VP, GfK - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  9. Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Ventures - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  10. Laura Marriott, President - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  11. Asha Vellaikal, Director, Orange - 2010 Mobile Almanac

Thanks to INQMobile and my friend Ajit Jaokar for contributing the prize gifts.

Despite conventional wisdom, what will not happen in 2010?

There were many. Sampling - Verizon iPhone, Microsoft Phone, Sprint will not be bought, Femtocells won’t gain traction, RCS will not happen, Google will not enter handset market directly, iPhone won’t lose steam, Android won’t bring coherence, NFC won’t take off, WiMAX won’t disappear, Nokia won’t bounce back, Palm won’t die, “Year of Mobile” noise won’t subside, carriers won’t be delegated as dumb-pipes.

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, augmented reality, 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, Mobile 3.0, LTE, single purpose devices, 3G in India, Bada, app vs web, developer turmoil, featurephones, smart grids, M2M, Chrome, etc.

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 the next decade and seeing many of you along the way.

We hope you enjoyed gaining from the collective wisdom. Your feedback is always welcome.

Be well, Do Cool Work, Stay in touch.

Thanks.

With warm wishes,

Chetan Sharma

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

Now onto the 2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey Results

The panel comprised of movers and shakers from around the world

survey2_10 survey1_10

What will be the biggest stories of 2010?

survey3_10

Jan seems to be the Google Phone vs. Apple Tablet matchup. Our panel though voted for the continued growth in mobile data as the top story.

Have we recovered from the recession? (Please select one)

survey4_10

Majority thought we are out of it though some might still feel the pinch

Who will be the most open player in the mobile ecosystem in 2010? (Please select one)

survey5_10

Google has done a great job at maintaining its image as THE open leader

Will Android handset sales exceed iPhone’s in 2010? (Please select one)

survey6_10

Despite Androids coming in droves, iPhone will still be the king of the hill

When will we see tiered pricing plans for smartphones in the US from tier 1 operators? (Please select one)

survey7_10

There are indications that this might happen sooner rather than later

What will happen to the mobile prepaid subscriber base in the US? (Please select one)

survey8_10

Prepaid made a strong comeback in 2009 and a good majority thought that the trend is likely to continue

By how much will the mobile advertising ad-spend increase in 2010? (Please select one)

survey9_10

Mobile Advertising was the only advertising segment with positive growth last year so it is no surprise that folks expect it to more than double this year

What will be the impact of the FCC’s national broadband plan on the mobile industry in 2010? (Please select one)

survey10_10

Not much is expected from the various rulings that might come this year with most expecting the courts to have the final word.

Who will be the mobile comeback story of 2010?

survey12_10

Having bet its future on Android, Motorola was voted as the comeback kid of 2010

What will be the impact of Google Phone?

survey13_10

It’s pretty clear, Google and Apple are duking it out for the developer mindshare. Google wins in either case.

Which areas will feel the most impact from FCC?

 survey11_10

Net neutrality is the area where they will have the most impact

Which solutions will gain the most traction for managing mobile data broadband consumption?

survey14_10

While only a holistic approach can provide complete relief, tiered mobile data pricing might have the most impact

When will the carrier-branded appstores lose steam? (Please select one)

survey15_10

Most expect carrier-branded appstores to be a thing of the past in 2010

What will help mobile cloud computing gain traction in 2010?

survey16_10

Mobile cloud computing is gaining steam and the reason is storage and media

What will be the most successful non-mobile-phone category in 2010? (Please select one)

survey17_10

Netbooks seem to be the strongest category followed by eReaders, Tablet, and M2M

What will be the breakthrough category in mobile in 2010? (Please select one)

survey18_10

Mobile Advertising and Mobile Payments share the top honors

By the end of 2010, which will have more subscribers? (Please select one)

survey19_10

LTE might have the momentum but WiMAX has the subscribers

How will Netbooks do through the operator channel? (Please select one)

survey20_10

No major impact from the operator channel

Which standards will gain traction?

survey21_10

No major impact from the standards

What mode of mobile payments will get any traction in North America and Western Europe in 2010?

survey22_10

The category will expand in different ways with more items being charged on the operator bill

US Mobile Data Market Update Q3 2009 November 9, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Networks, Partnership, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments

 

Download PPT | PDF

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 27% Y/Y to exceed $11.3B in mobile data service revenues and thus exceeded $10B for the third straight quarter. As we mentioned in our Q1 2009 research note, given the strong growth in data revenues and overall service revenues, the worst is over for the US mobile industry. The US market touched 25% penetration of smartphones in Q3 2009, a new milestone.

While the flailing economy hit certain segments of the wireless ecosystem hard esp. the infrastructure and handset segments, consumers haven’t really pulled back on the mobile data overall spending. Additionally, the CAPEX spending has stayed strong in 2009 given the activity around 3G/4G deployments and trials. As expected, there was an increase of prepaid subscribers which dropped the overall revenues for some of the carriers. The US subscription penetration was approximately 91.3% at the end of Q3 2009.

As we mentioned in our last three research notes that this time around, the fate of the US mobile industry is more closely tied to the overall economy compared to the previous recessions. As the consumer sentiment improved over the last two quarters along with better than expected Q1-3 2009 earnings from corporations, the mobile industry is back on track. While the structural flaws in various industry segments remain, the outlook for the Q4 2009 and 2010 remains bright and we are expecting the overall data revenues to now increase by over 30% compared to 2008 with a record-setting Q4.

Q3 2009 reported a 3.5% increase in GDP compared to the 1% decline in Q2 and 6.4% decline in Q1, thus marking the official (technical) end of the recession. The GDP is expected to change by 3.2% for 2009 and the service revenues are expected to  account for 1.13% of the US economy by year-end. Note: For a detailed discussion of the US wireless industry in recessions, please see 2008 US Wireless Market Update.

So, what does this mean? Well, the markets can still be volatile, but overall the market seems to be feeling better about the economy than it was in February. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index though retreated from June is at a healthy 47.7.

What to expect in the coming months?

The high unemployment has slowed the growth in the data card segment but the smartphone consumers have more than picked up the slack. Also, as expected, there was a shift from postpaid to prepaid in some user segments. For example, for T-Mobile, prepaid accounts for almost 20% of their customer base compared to 17% from an year ago. The fight for the low-end customer is also having an impact on the traditional prepaid players and the price pressure is reducing their margins. It is quite likely that 50-60% of such consumers don’t go back to postpaid thus permanently lowering the ARPU base for such customers and carriers who have experienced more postpaid to prepaid shift will have to make up for the lost revenues elsewhere.

In fact, the churning in the last few quarters has distanced the top two (AT&T and Verizon) and the next two (Sprint and T-Mobile) by the biggest gap in the history of the industry. By the end of 2009, this gap will rise to 36% compared to 28% at the end of 2008 and 21% in 2002.The "Rest" category has essentially diminished from the market dropping from a dominant 43% market share in 2002 to 12% in 2009.

The trend of the landline replacement by Mobile continued in Q3 2009, now reaching almost 25%. In the third quarter, messaging growth slowed down. The messaging volume was up only 4% and messaging revenues were up 3% QoQ. With its expanding 3G network, T-Mobile like its peers has started to benefit from smartphone penetration reaching to 6% of its subscriber base. Overall, The increased use of smartphones and datacards is putting a pressure on carrier networks and accelerating their strategies to deploy LTE/WiMAX. We estimate that by end of 2009, the US mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008. To truly tackle the problem head-on, operators will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively. We discuss mobile data traffic in much more detail in our paper "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era." We will have more on this subject in the coming days (You can also read our RCR Wireless columns on the subject - Defining Mobile Broadband and Solutions for the Broadband World).

We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q3 2009 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 11-12, 17, 19)

ARPU (Slides 13-15)

Subscribers (Slides 16-18)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Policy and Regulations

· Q3 also marked the start of an intense FCC scrutiny of the wireless industry. In outlining the four key principles of a) looming crisis of spectrum shortage b) removal of red tape c) enforce net-neutrality and d) open Internet, things have already started to change in the US Wireless Industry. Google has played the game of Armadaian tactics with Kasparovian acumen. The impact of the codified principles (and the subsequent court battles) can have a significant impact on not only the US wireless industry but the global ecosystem as well.

Open

· While there has been much consternation around the word "Open," one is hard pressed to find a consistent definition what it might actually mean. One could provide access to one API and declare themselves an open heretic while others could end up opening up their business more than needed and yet be accused of being closed. Clearly, the degree to openness is in the eye of the recipient. There is no black and white, just shades of grey and that’s where the battles will be won and lost. In the end, it is all about "access" to the market and the "freedom" to earn profits. Rest is noise.

· It is worth debating as to what can be mandated to be open, do the rules apply just to the operators and OEMs, or we should extend the courtesy to software platforms, search indices, aggregated user profiles, billing engines, etc.

· It is also becoming obvious that we need to redefine the device categories. Featurephones are no longer dumb terminals, many empower the users with smartphone functionality. Devices like iPhone, Droid, Pre no longer fit the smartphone stereotype, they need a separate category for themselves - appphones, ddhmvcs (data devices that happen to make voice calls), platformdevices, mobilecomputers, geniusdevices, agilechips, astuteconceirge, you get the point.

Misc.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2009. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Mar 2010.

Watch out for our end of the year survey and commentary on global wireless markets and trends for 2010.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Should you have any questions about navigating or understanding the economic and competitive icebergs, please feel free to drop us a line.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

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

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q2 2009 August 8, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile Usability, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q2 2009

Download: PPT | PDF

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 7% Q/Q and 30% Y/Y to exceed $10.6B in mobile data service revenues and thus exceeded $10B for the second straight quarter. As we mentioned in our Q1 2009 research note, given the strong growth in data revenues shown by the top carriers and the increase in service revenues overall, the worst is over for the US mobile industry. In summary, the recession has been all but a tiny blip in its growth trend and the US mobile market has weathered the downward spiral in economy better than its counterparts in other developed nations. Of course, recession doesn’t treat all players equally, so, some have had a negative impact and will need more resources and effective strategies to claw back to the their previous market position.

The US subscription penetration was approximately 90.4% at the end of Q209. The current rate of net-adds (subscription) is approximately 3 every second (compared to a net gain in population of one person every 10 seconds). While the flailing economy hit certain segments of the wireless ecosystem hard esp. the infrastructure and handset segments, consumers haven’t really pulled back on the mobile data overall spending. Additionally, the CAPEX spending will stay strong in 2009 given the activity around 3G/4G deployments and trials. As expected, there was an increase of prepaid subscribers which dropped the overall revenues for some of the carriers.

As we mentioned in our last two research notes that this time around, the fate of the US mobile industry is more closely tied to the overall economy compared to the previous recessions. As the consumer sentiment improved over the last 3-4 months along with better than expected Q1-2 2009 earnings from corporations, the mobile industry is back on track. While the structural flaws in various industry segments remain, and the economy is a crisis away from the double dip, the outlook for the remainder of 2009 remains bright and we are expecting the overall data revenues to now increase by 32% compared to 2008 with a record-setting Q4.

US Wireless Industry in Recession - The light at the end of the tunnel is indeed not from the oncoming train

Note: For a detailed discussion of the US wireless industry in recessions, please see 2008 US Wireless Market Update.

Q2 2009 reported a much better 1% decline (compared to 6.4% in Q1). On an yearly basis, the GDP is expected to change by 3.2% for 2009 and the service revenues are expected to  account for 1.13% of the US economy by year-end.

As mentioned in the previous reports, while in the past, the recession hardly impacted the wireless industry, this time around; it is going to be more tied to the recession. In the past couple of months, the consumer sentiment has improved and the Q109 earnings have been better than expected. While there are still many structural flaws in the financial and housing industries and the unemployment is at a 25 year high of 9.4% (though it dropped in July from 9.5% in June), consumers are feeling better about the economy and their own prospects in it.

So, what does this mean? Well, the markets can still be volatile, but overall the market seems to be feeling better about the economy than it was in February. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index though retreated from June is at a healthy 46.6.

Given that consumer sentiment is improving, it is clear that the US mobile data market is all but back from the recession. While some segments within the mobile industry might be suffering, there has been an increase in spending overall.

What to expect in the coming months?

We noted in our Q3 2008 note that we will get a better picture of the impact of the recession on the wireless industry in Q109 as it was the first full quarter after the seasonal holiday quarter. There are two micro trends that are clear. First, as expected, due to the high unemployment, the data card segment took a hit. It is starting to recover in due course as more of the workforce comes back over in the next 18 months.

Also, as expected, there was a shift from postpaid to prepaid in some user segments. For example, for T-Mobile, prepaid constituted 82% of the net-adds in Q209 up from 61% in Q109 and 21% in Q208. It is not clear if the good times will bring back the prepaid subscribers to the postpaid realm or like the consumers who are canceling their landline connections and moving to mobile, these customers will get used to savings and the prepaid lifestyle. The fight for the low-end customer is also having an impact on the traditional prepaid players and the price pressure is reducing their margins.

It is quite likely that 50-60% of such consumers don’t go back to postpaid thus permanently lowering the ARPU base for such customers and carriers who have experienced more postpaid to prepaid shift will have to make up for the lost revenues elsewhere.

The landline replacement by Mobile trend continued now reaching almost 24% by Q209. Messaging continues to grow. The messaging volume was up 15% and messaging revenue was up 11% QoQ. The data access (excluding data card) including flat rate data plan subscriptions have also show significant strength lately. In addition to smartphones, we are also seeing increased mobile data activity amongst feature phone users. With its expanding 3G network, T-Mobile like its peers has started to benefit from smartphone penetration reaching to 6% of its subscriber base. Overall, the US market will exceed 25% penetration of smartphones in Q3 2009.

The increased use of smartphones and datacards is putting a pressure on carrier networks and accelerating their strategies to deploy LTE/WiMAX. We estimate that by end of 2009, the US mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008. To truly tackle the problem head-on, operators will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively. We discuss mobile data traffic in much more detail in our paper “Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era.” (I will be giving keynotes on the subject at the Mobile Innovation Week in Sept and at the ISACA meeting in Oct)

The positive factors are helping negate the negative factors and given the strength of 3G and smartphone adoption, the increase in activity on the appstores front, and in general, a better awareness of mobile data services and applications amongst consumers, any decline due to the loss of data card revenue and postpaid transition to prepaid accounts has been taken care off. In particular, Verizon and AT&T have done really well. Smartphones remain a bright spot, which in turn has a direct positive impact on the data revenues. Even with the decline in handset sales, smartphone segment will continue to increase in 2009 accounting for almost 30% of the overall device shipments.

There is also a concerted effort underway to move beyond the traditional subscriptions and expand the mobile universe to wireless-enable other consumer devices (What did your refrigerator say to your microwave while you were gone?).

Coming back to the 2009 forecasts, we are raising our estimates for the mobile data service revenues to $45B for the year. We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q209 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 11-12, 17-18)

ARPU (Slides 13-15)

Subscribers (Slides 16-17)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Misc.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Oct 2009. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2009.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Should you have any questions about navigating or understanding the economic and competitive icebergs, please feel free to drop us a line.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

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

Sell Phones: What will make Mobile Advertising tick? October 19, 2006

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Wallet, Partnership, Privacy, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

The full version of the paper is available now -

http://www.chetansharma.com/sellphones.htm(pdf download)

Introduction

Mobile Marketing and Advertising is the new it in the industry. All the three recent industry shows (MES, MECCA, and CTIA)[1] in LA last month were buzzing with the potential of mobile advertising. For carriers, who until now had not paid attention to this evolving sub-segment, have started to organize internally to be the clearinghouse and magnet for agencies and advertisers. The advertising agencies and big brands have started to throw MDF[2] dollars at experimenting with this new medium called mobile. Analysts have started predicting billion dollar markets by 2010[3]. The ecosystem has also started shifting and new alliances are being probed and tested for positioning. Is mobile marketing going to be another over-hyped industry segment or will it actually help generate revenue, drive exits for VC investments, enhance content value-proposition, and most importantly, deliver value to the consumers? This article discusses the elements that are critical for the long-term viability of the mobile advertising and marketing industry.

How big is the market?

To get a grip on the potential market in the US or Western Europe, we take a look at Japan[4] as the harbinger of whats to come in this space. According to Dentsu, mobile advertising revenues for 2006 will be approximately $373M or close to $3.8 per subscriber (for the year). By 2009, this number is likely to scale to over $6/sub/year[5] (Figure 1). According to InfoPlant, almost 60% of the Japanese consumers use mobile coupons and discounts more than once a month[6]. The US market is just starting to get organized and move from SMS marketing to mobile/local search marketing, interstitials, in-content ads, banner ads, etc. In 2006, US will do less than $1/sub (for the year) in mobile advertising revenues, bulk of which will be SMS marketing. Europe is also slowly waking up to the possibilities around mobile ads and has been experimenting with some clever business models such as Operator 3 subsidizing usage and phones in lieu of advertising on the phone. These models are also being offered in the microenvironments of downloadables, subscriptions, video streams, etc.

Figure 1. Mobile Advertising Revenue Growth in Japan[7]

It is apparent that due to the availability of context, immediacy, and personalization, mobile has significant advantages over the other channels as an advertising medium.

The potential is clearly there but how long will it take to reach a critical mass? How many years before the industry cracks $1B? $10B? For reference, it took 2, 4, and 5 years for Broadcast, Internet, and Cable advertising respectively, to cross the $1B revenue mark; 5 years for Internet and Broadcast advertising to cross the $5B mark. None of them crossed $10B mark in their first 10 years of existence[8] (Figure 2). Will mobile be any different? Instead of being a blip in the advertising revenue stream, when will the mobile segment start rivaling revenues generated from advertising on Internet, Radio, Newspaper, and TV? Can it? If yes, what does it take to get there? What technical, business, and legal issues need to be addressed before agencies have dedicated staff to tackle mobile advertising and real dollars instead of MDFs as part of the budgeting exercise? Finally, who will be the dominant players controlling the ecosystem five years from now?

Figure 2. Annual Ad revenue growth in broadcast, cable, internet in the first 11 years[9]

Technology Requirements

First, lets discuss the technology piece. As we have seen in Japan and Korea, higher processing power handsets and 3G pipes play a significant role in the adoption of rich advertising content. If an ad is non-intrusive, delivers value, and is relevant to the consumer; there will be a higher propensity of adoption vs. when after 45 seconds of connecting to server screen, an ad rears its ugly head to slam in the face of an already frustrated consumer. In the US, 3G is being adopted fairly aggressively and when Cingular picks up pace with its WCDMA/HSDPA deployment, growth is going to accelerate into 2007. By 2008, 3G penetration will reach over 25%[10]. Adoption of Smartphones is also increasing (Figure 3). With Motorolas Q and RIMs Pearl, price point is getting near mass-market consumption levels. By next year, we will start seeing $100 smartphones. In the US, 25% of the converged devices sold during the first half of 2006 were 3G devices. This is up from just 3% in 2005. User interfaces are also getting better. UIOne, MYDAS, Flash, Screen 3, 1mm, and other proprietary solutions are extending the possibilities. In terms of options, there are different channels available SMS, MMS, Search, Browser, Games, Video/TV, etc. each with its pros and cons and maturity level in the market (Figure 4 and 5).

Figure 3. Expected lifecycle of various key technologies in the US[11]

Figure 4. Mobile advertising channels[12]

Most of the effective mobile advertising and marketing will be search driven whether it is based on declared intent from the user or passive impressions based on users context, history, and preferences. Google is an example of the former while Amazon is a brilliant case study of the latter. Local search and advertisements will be a significant part of the equation. As Mark Anderson, CEO of Strategic News Service[13] recently quipped in his recent column Searching for Transactions, Search isnt about advertising, its about shopping, which is why the advertisers have to be there. It is truer in the mobile environment. Astute advertisers realize the proximity and intimacy of the medium and already conjuring up clever ways to engage the consumer. Service providers with good mobile search engine technology will be at competitive advantage as they build a strategic framework to address the bigger opportunity.

Figure 5. Consumption of various services in key western nations[14]

For mobile advertising to be successful, one needs reach, purity, and analytics (Figure 6). Reach is how many real customers do you have? Purity is the quality of information on the customers. Name and address just dont cut it. Analytics is matching users interests implicit and explicit, context, preferences, network and handset conditions to ads and promotions in real-time. Not just bucketing a user in a group and giving them a number but understanding the user in every way possible and customizing every single interaction, every single push, every single imprint, and every single promotion to the finest degree possible.

So, who has the reach? Clearly, carriers with millions of billing relationships currently have the tightest relationship with the end-customer in this ecosystem and has the most relevant transactions to build a good customer profile fingerprint[15]. On the other end are the Internet brands like Yahoo, Google, and MSN with over half a billion unique visitors each. Other important players include giants like Amazon, EBay, Myspace, Youtube, Skype, AOL, and Paypal.

Figure 6. Mobile Advertising and Marketing Framework

The internet brands have good reach but limited purity. Purity is about good profile data. The customer profile information that Internet players have assimilated doesnt really always translate well into a view of a customers interests and preferences. They can and will build a direct relationship with consumer but it will take time and has to overcome some technical and business hurdles.

Finally, one needs the analytical framework. The goal of the framework is to capture the behavior and interests of the user while they are browsing, shopping, interacting with a variety of applications and content, and even simply calling 1-800-Flowers. This knowledge mixed with the explicit profile helps enable build characteristics and traits of users on a mass scale. Once the segmentation and understanding of the user is fine-tuned, the gathered knowledge can be continuously applied to enhance the user experience while they are interacting with their mobile phone by targeted promotions and offers sent to the user, and mobile advertising can be enabled such that it adds value to the user experience.

In terms of platforms, there has been a lot of activity on building backends, but little progress on the front-end where it matters the most. What is absolutely needed is an easily accessible control framework for permission advertising/marketing so that the user can selectively or globally switch-on or off the types of ads/promotions they would like to entertain and when. We need a SIP/Presence like capability that works across all apps and services and is as universally accessible through open APIs. Mobile advertising is not just all visual either. It can interact with the customer while they are on hold or support free 411 or premium services or can be integrated with podcasts, essentially finding clever ways to provide ad/promotion content in exchange for something that provides value to the end-user. The context engine combines various inputs and uses location and other contextual information to package information before it is pulled or pushed to the consumer. This is true for all the application areas such as portals, storefronts, local search, mobile search, off-net access, and other applications.

The value chain

As the convergence continues, the mobile ecosystem keeps shifting. Currently, the mobile advertising chain consists of the following main segments (Figure 7):

Campaign Sponsors American Express, P&G, GE, Toyota, etc.

(Advertisers)

Marketing Agencies Ogilvy, Universal, Carat, Mindshare, etc.

Enablers ThirdScreenMedia, Admob, MobiTV, Enpocket, Rhythm NewMedia, Medio, ActionEngine, Screen Tonic, Google, Yahoo, Tellme, MSN, Infospace, etc.

Content Provider CNN, Disney, Yahoo, YouTube, ESPN, Mixxer, Intercasting, etc.

Aggregators mBlox, Infospace, WSC, etc.

Carriers Sprint Nextel, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Telefonica, Verizon, Cingular, Virgin, ampD, Clearwire, etc.

Consumers You and Me

For each of the participants, there are some inherent benefits, specifically,

For the carrier, it is an excellent way to build loyalty and stickiness. It is also a way to take the saturated levels of data users to another level by subsidizing premium content and even transport costs by advertising thus lowering the barrier-to-usage. However, the carriers need to balance the influx of users and data traffic with the potential for additional revenues. Spectrum is still limited and it needs to be used wisely in any strategic scenario.

For the user, relevant (opt-in) and targeted advertising and promotions deliver value. In all recent surveys, the number of users willing to pay for the Mobile TV service is a very small fraction of the number of users who want to use the service. With advertising, they can afford more and start enjoying the full capabilities of their handsets.

Figure 7. The emerging mobile advertising value chain[16]

From an advertisers point of view, mobile provides unparalleled reach and a reliable and fairly accurate measurement tool. The ad/promotion system should have the capability to create promotions at national and local level (city, zip code, location) and everything in between. The system needs to support extensive querying and segmentation capability to design sophisticated campaigns for e.g.

Give me users who are most likely to purchase a new ringtone from Usher.

Give me users who are Pop aficionados, have coke as their favorite cola, wear Nike shoes, single, living in large metro areas on the east coast, income level above $120K, have ARM11 or higher devices, and have responded to at least 50% of ads in the past 2 months.

For evaluating the mobile medium, advertisers are using the same criterion as they have used for other channels, namely:

Reach how big is the audience esp., unique and regular visitors?

Purity how good is the user profile information?

Frequency how often is the audience exposed to advertisements?

Performance whats the quantitative measurement criterion to determine effectiveness of the campaigns?

Advertising inventory whats the availability of ad slots on premium properties?

Advertising units whats the size and shape of advertising content?

Tools what kind of tools are available to run the lifecycle of a campaign? How does mobile advertising fit into the larger advertising budgets and planning?

For content providers, both big and small, it offers an ability to go direct in addition to working with carriers on revenue-sharing arrangements. If a content-providers has traction and user profile data for a few million loyal subscribers, advertisers would love to talk to you. But, as we discussed earlier, it comes down to reach and purity of the subscriber base.

Risks

While the potential is immense, there are also significant risks and potential challenges that need to be tackled before the industry evolves into a vibrant advertising medium. The prominent amongst them are privacy and data security. Once you start mining user data, significant profile information can be developed. Then how that information is used and by whom becomes an issue, and a significant legal minefield. In addition, if the industry doesnt want regulators to get involved, the security policies and procedures need to be in place to protect the data from theft or misuse. Next, the advertising ecosystem needs to be fostered so that everyone in the value chain benefits relative to their contribution.

Some people have compared the advertising ecosystem to lions (advertisers) and antelopes (consumers), where you need enough antelopes to attract the lions but not enough lions that you scare away the antelopes[17]. As Omar indicates in his article, advertising needs to align the interests of different players in the value chain to keep plenty of antelopes around the watering hole. As we have seen time and time again, if the ecosystem is healthy, segment thrives otherwise it is relegated to slow growth or the interest dissipates altogether. There needs to be a good balance of power between advertisers, content providers, carriers, and consumers.

Value-chain dynamics

It is clear that mobile advertising and marketing has big potential if certain technical and business requirements are met and industry strives to take into account the user considerations that matter the most. But, which players will dominate and control the ecosystem. Without a doubt, carriers have the purest profile information available, but can they execute their strategies? Well, they have approximately 3-4 year window. Once 3G and Smartphone penetration curves collide and pass 20-30%, if the carriers havent built a good mousetrap (value proposition) by then, all bets are off. Different dominant players will start to emerge, as it will get easier for Internet and traditional brands to build direct relationships with a good proportion of the subscriber base. It is also possible that in some geographies carriers and brands will work closely to establish a tight service offering and equitable revenue split. Role of savvy brands like P&G who are generally ahead of the curve on most technology trends is going to be important. Brands and service providers who are able to integrate user experience across channels will benefit the most (Microsoft will be a strong player in cross-channel advertising). There is real value in understanding user behavior on the Internet and mobile and cross-leverage in a) building a solid profile fingerprint and b) using it to push content.

Then, there is the whole world of off-net advertising and marketing. Carriers are increasingly playing a lesser role in that segment. But the market is very fragmented amongst hundreds of content providers and mini-aggregators. They only have a piece of the (reach and purity) puzzle and hence the analytics they apply will be limited in scope. Could they collaborate to work to leverage each-others strength? Certainly. Can the user profile information be available as a web service (with users permission of course)? Sure. Can carriers start to offer that to trusted providers in exchange for revenue-share? Possibly. There is clearly enough room for experimentation in both technology and business models arena of this nascent industry segment. Finally, ads and promotions should be super-distribution-friendly (across carriers and devices) meaning — treat ads and promotions like content that can be passed around easily.

Conclusion

It is quite clear from the industry trends that mobile industry (especially in the US) is moving from an emerging state to a more interactive and immersive application and services environment. By 2011, advertising industry will be close to $600B. Can mobile start to increase its revenue share from its current levels of less than 0.2% to 2-5% by then? Since this medium can provide context, immediacy, and personalization, the answer is yes. However, there are technical, business, and legal hurdles to be crossed before the industry becomes a thriving institution.

Until then, stay tuned to our commentary on the shifts and turns in the ecosystem.

Acknowledgements

My thanks to Sunil Jain, Victor Melfi, Amar Patel, Anne Baker, Sarla Sharma, Shawn Conahan, and Subhadeep Chatterjee for their valuable assistance with the article.


[1] Coverage of fall shows (2006) is available at http://www.chetansharma.com/ctia0906roundup.htm .

[2] Market Development Funds (MDF) are typically allocated for new media activities.

[3] In a recent report, Informa estimated that the mobile advertising market is going to be worth $871m this year, and will jump to $11.35bn in 2011.

[4] Japan is the second largest advertising market in the world behind US. Japan is also the first country to exceed 50% 3G penetration earlier this year.

[5] Source: Dentsu, Chetan Sharma Consulting

[6] Source: http://www.wirelesswatch.jp//modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2021

[7] Source: Dentsu, Chetan Sharma Consulting

[8] Year 1: 1995 for Internet, 1980 for Cable, and 1945 for Broadcast TV (Source: IAB).

[9] Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, 2005 Full Year Results, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

[10] For a more exhaustive discussion on 3G, please see http://www.chetansharma.com/cover%20story_3G.pdf

[11] Source: Chetan Sharma Consulting

[12] Source: Chetan Sharma Consulting, Q206

[13] http://www.tapsns.com

[14] Data Source: M:Metrics, Aug 2006

[15] While carriers have the most pertinent data on the users, it resides in disparate locations and very few have realized the long-term value of such an exercise.

[16] Source: Chetan Sharma Consulting

[17] Lions and Antelopes in the Advertising Ecosystem, Omar Tawakol, Revenue Science

Mobile Search News August 16, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : AORTA, General, Infrastructure, Mobile Applications, Mobile Search, Mobile Usability, US Wireless Market, Usability , add a comment

Some activity in the Mobile Search space

Branded vs. White label mobile search solutions. Carriers are struggling to define their long-term strategy in the space. Do they bring it in-house, go white-label, or just hand over the real-estate to the likes of Google. It is an interesting dilemma for them as they clearly see the opportunities but are also scared to execute on it.

Moconews reports the tussle going on at Vodafone - Vodafone looking for fast exit from Google mobile search partnership

As I have discussed before, various modalities come into play for providing input to the search engine. Google makes the move with the purchase of Neven Vision. With Image strategy behind, next acquisition might revolve around voice search or some forays into LBS.

HP’s Memory Spot July 24, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G, AORTA, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, General, Middleware, Mobile TV, Mobile Wallet, Storage, US Wireless Market, Usability , add a comment

Last week, HP spoke about Memory Spot - http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2006/060717a.html

The experimental chip, developed by the Memory Spot research team at HP Labs, is a memory device based on CMOS (a widely used, low-power integrated circuit design) and about the size of a grain of rice or smaller (2 mm to 4 mm square), with a built-in antenna. The chips could be embedded in a sheet of paper or stuck to any surface, and could eventually be available in a booklet as self-adhesive dots.

The chip has a 10 megabits-per-second data transfer rate 10 times faster than Bluetooth wireless technology and comparable to Wi-Fi speeds effectively giving users instant retrieval of information in audio, video, photo or document form. With a storage capacity ranging from 256 kilobits to 4 megabits in working prototypes, it could store a very short video clip, several images or dozens of pages of text. Future versions could have larger capacities.

A step forward in our AORTA world. Potential apps listed in the press release

Enterprise Mobility Cover Story June 12, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, Infrastructure, Middleware, Strategy, Uncategorized, Usability , add a comment

Our cover story on Enterprise Mobility in Wireless World Magazine June 2006

http://www.chetansharma.com/JUNE_cover%story.pdf

CTIA and Mobile Entertainment Summit Roundup April 10, 2006

Posted by Chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, Federal, General, Infrastructure, International Trade, Location Based Services, M&A, Mergers and Acquisitions, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Content, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Wallet, Partnership, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Usability , add a comment

My week started with a presentation on “US Wireless Market: Trends, Technologies, and Opportunities” to the CTIA-bound Japanese delegation that included very knowledgeable executives from NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, Kyocera, Mitsubishi, Base, MCPC, Vodafone, and Willcom. During networking, had some interesting conversations with our Japanese friends regarding content business, UMA, WiMax, 4G, and new business models.

Spent next three days attending Mobile Entertainment Summit (April 4th; Chetan Sharma Consulting was research partner for the event) and CTIA (April 5-7th), talking to companies, looking at demos, visiting with colleagues and friends, and just absorbing the atmosphere and distilling things down to “what does this mean?” Below is the summary of key observations, thoughts, and digressions.

General atmosphere – As expected, the show grew bigger in terms of attendees (over 40K) and exhibitors marked by return of double story booths, glitz, and million dollar marketing budgets. Samsung and LG clearly were dueling it out for the most recognized brand out there trying to out-do each other in invoking a subliminal conversation with the customers. There was tremendous excitement at the opportunities, fear of missing it out, and yearning for figuring things out to ride the wave.

Booth of the show award is a tie between LG and Motorola with Samsung close behind. Honorable mentions: Philips, Lucent, and Siemens.

Typically, the main CTIA show focuses a lot on infrastructure, middleware, network, and handsets. This time, it was also about applications. There are readjustments going on in the value chain and with the looming consolidation wave, the rubric cubes will be rearranged in several sub segments. Wireless email had already starting shifting that way even though we are below 10% penetration.

Convergence was a big theme of the show. Consulting firms Deloitte and PwC released their reports on the subject and every major infrastructure player was talking about the impact of Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC). Convergence across PSTN, Cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, Cordless Telephony Profile (CTP), Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) were all discussed in some detail. From a consumer point of view, it comes down to how fast the network is upgraded to provide the functionality and the number of devices in the market to take advantage of the feature-set at reasonable prices. Until then, it is just talk.

Positioning – Several companies are coming around to what DoCoMo taught us about i-mode. It was all about – improving the life experiences of customers. Nokia’s tag line changed from “voice goes mobile” to “life goes mobile” and “work goes mobile”. MTV expresses itself as a “content experience” company. Microsoft is all about “Discover, Innovate, Deliver” while Motorola wants to produce “must do” experiences.

Mobile TV is another area that is priming up for some consolidation as various components are commoditized (esp. for Unicast). It is not that, we are done with the innovation in this segment, in fact, we are only getting started, however, the drive will come from how the video content is packaged with other pieces of content and applications and made more interactive with humans and machines. The number of companies in the space almost doubled since last show (Ortiva, VectorMax, Snell & Wilcox, NMS, Nexage, Vimio). Everyone agrees that MobiTV has a huge advantage. It is a good case study of “first mover advantage”. It will be interesting to see if they can build on their success and compete effectively against broadcast solutions. Broadcast is the future of MobileTV. Mediaflo rocks. Key questions are: can the carriers get the business model right at launch that promotes usage and will the political and regulatory climate foster Mediaflo growth in light of DVB-H (Modeo in US) and DMB. Japan, Korea, and US are fertile ground for this battle. Qualcomm is working on Mediaflo as well as DVB-H chipsets. Slingbox was also showing their place-shift mobile video solution. It will be interesting to see how carriers block-and-tackle this one.

AORTA and 3G revisited – Since the article “3G – Hitting the Mass Market”, the tipping point assessment has been validated by several other analysts. In US and Europe, 3G deployments will start hitting critical mass in the first half of 2007 and we are getting closer to the vision of Always-On Real-Time Access (AORTA).

Mobile Search – During last couple of CTIA shows, mobile search has been an upcoming thing. During the last six months, 3 of the top 5 carriers have launched mobile search solutions with some incredible returns and actual impact on the bottom-line. Some branded solutions have also been launched and various business models are being tested. One can feel the tension between carrier-branded search and solutions from the likes of Google, and Yahoo. Who can build a better mouse-trap? Will carriers cede control and help non-carrier solutions with carrier-resident data? Feature-set is straightforward. Question is what customer data can one use to enhance the user-experience. If carriers are smart about it, they will work with white-label vendors such as Infospace (also Medio, Jumptap, etc.) to develop some really neat analytics that feeds back into user experience. Voice search solutions are also becoming more prominent. In the last 6 months, Voicebox, Voicesignal, Promptu, and V-enable have announced voice search solutions.

User Interface is getting better – Players in the value chain are paying more and more attention to the user-experience. As predicted, MVNOs are having an impact on how device manufacturers and carriers think about customization. Amp’D, ESPN, Disney, and Helio all have custom clients. Rather than relegating the user experience on device browser and archaic transcoding solutions, these MVNOs want to provide a controlled and immersive user experience. With 2nd tier device guys eager to do what-ever-it-takes to make the user experience attractive, mainstream device manufacturers and carriers will need to get their acts together in a hurry. Verizon’s announcement (about using Flash) is recognition of this trend. Also, there were some apps with really cool UIs from startups such as DSI.

Community and User-generated content – There was tremendous activity in the mobile community and user-generated content space, from blogs and SMS to video and music content around community networks. Indeed, it is all about communities and user-generated content plays an incredibly important role in it. Though we have seen significant amount of growth in ringtones, graphics market, this will explode when UGC (including music, video) is put into the mix. This has been validated by multiple data points, the newest one being from 3 in Europe through seemetv service. How quickly will carriers embrace this so that the poor schmuck with 10 goofy videos with no technical capability gets to put their content for sharing, for barter, or for sale. Companies such as Intercasting, Juicewireless, AirG, SMS.ac, Bango, Blogstar, Helio (Myspace) are coming at the opportunity from different angles.

MVNO launches Since last CTIA, ESPN Mobile and Amp’D have launched. This CTIA marked the launch of Disney Mobile and the concept resonated with most attendees esp. folks who have kids. They also got their handset strategy right by pricing it for mass consumption. Service will become available in June. Helio is supposed to launch around the same time. In the meantime, Vegas started taking bets on which MVNO will be the first to fold. As I have discussed in prior articles, MVNOs have clearly raised the bar on user experience and will continue to push the envelope. The willingness of Asian manufacturers to customize at a frantically rapid pace is going to put pressure on the big boys and is already having an impact on their strategy and roadmaps.

Enterprise – Though there were a couple of Enterprise pavilions, the substance was pretty light. Revenue potential of enterprise solutions is equally big if not bigger than the consumer segment, yet it fails to get attention beyond mobile email which itself is becoming a commodity play. It should be noted that there were a couple of vendors that are trying out new approaches to the consumer email such as using MMS for email (Memova).

Mobile Diagnostics and Performance measurement – With the advent of 3G and numerous data apps, the impact on network storage and performance is enormous but is often not talked about. The amount of bytes generated in 3G networks is many times more than 2G and 2.5G networks. As such, the networks need to be planned and monitored appropriately. Testing and simulation of applications, services, and handsets also become more important. Companies such as Vallent, EMC, Keynote, Schema, and Argogroup are looking at the problem from different angles.

4G – Though no body in the industry agrees what it is, some semblance of “Beyond 3G” solutions started showing up at the show from IMT-Advanced solutions from DoCoMo (1Gbps) to WiMax pavilion. Samsung had the WiBro gear at the show – handsets and infrastructure – very cool to see things end-to-end. WiBro trials are ongoing in Korea and we are likely to learn a lot from the results that will help decision makers in the WiMax segment. However, we are still a long ways away (2008) before we see any meaningful mass market penetration for mobile WiMax (There are a number of trials going on around the world from DoCoMo, Willcom, Softbank, KDDI, Sprint, SKT, and KT). It should be noted that US spectrum auction is slated to start June 29th, 2006. It will be interesting to see who ends up with what esp. Clearwire and if any of the non-traditional players such as Google, Disney, DirecTV, and Microsoft make a run for it.

Near Field Communications (NFC) – DoCoMo has had success with FeliCa (Sony’s technology) launch in Japan. Things are increasingly looking bright for NFC-based solutions (mobile wallet, venue check-in, authentication, etc). Mastercard is running some trials on East coast. Cingular has been running some trials in Atlanta area using Nokia phones with Philips NFC technology. In addition to contactless payment capability, NFC-equipped phone can also read data from compatible tags, opening new content discovery avenues. The biggest challenge is of course getting the required infrastructure in place and endorsement or participation by at least one or two major retailers such as Starbucks or McDonalds. Many companies from Philips to smaller players such as MobilyT had neat NFC prototypes. Paypal also launched its mobile payment solution. Many companies are looking to bypass carrier billing so they have more control – it will be an interesting battle to watch.

M2M – With most major western markets reaching saturation, focus has been shifting to M2M applications and device-to-device networking. In addition to the big players such as Siemens, Motorola, and Phillips, newer players such as Esmertec were discussing the potential and applications.

Chinese presence – In the CTIA roundup one year back, I noted “Chinese are coming”. If there was any doubt, it was pretty clear from this show that Chinese wireless players are going to be significant force to reckon with. They are already making an impact in markets outside China, such as in India, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Booths and showcases from ZTE, UTStarcom, and Huawei rivaled their western counterparts. Noticeably, several software and SI Indian firms also had presence at the show.

Handset business will continue to be brutal. Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Nokia all had a good line up of new handsets. Chinese manufacturers such as Techfaith wireless and Amoi also had some sleek handsets on display (Amoi even had knock-offs of Razr and iPod phone)

Mobile Advertising – Not much substantive progress since last time, except for more talk, and more companies popping up. The concepts and business models are starting to get more serious discussions from carriers, content providers, aggregators, and advertisers. Some interesting ad performance tools are also coming up (Integrated Media Measurement Inc.). It comes down to who has the relationship with the customer, what’s the depth of consumer profile information, and the trust-level established with the customers. ActionEngine’s MSNBC launch, new startups Rhythm NewMedia and VibesMedia, and Free DA (supported by Ads) were among the highlights in this area.

Location Based Services – I remember working on LBS solutions back in 97-98 timeframe and the technology was going to change the world (in the US). Largely due to FCC’s inability to enforce its own rulings, we didn’t see much progress for a number of years. Though Nextel has been providing LBS in the enterprise sector, it was only recently with Sprint opening up its APIs for selected developers that we are seeing some LBS based apps for the consumer sector e.g. FindIt. Disney Mobile is also making location a key feature of its offering for kid-tracker types of apps.

Microsoft dominance starts – It has taken a number of years, but shift is noticeable now. With smart phones penetration increasing, Microsoft is starting to dominate the high-end market. A good percentage of new smart phones are running MS software though Linux is also making some inroads in this market (DoCoMo, China). If the battery power issues can be resolved and the OS moves into the sub-$200 market, it will accelerate MS’s dominance of handsets. There was also talk about Opensource OS for mobile devices.

Open gardens – Pretty soon, being “open” will be considered a competitive advantage. At the two extremes are T-Mobile International (which gave up and opened up its greenhouse to the likes of Google) and Verizon (which might be one of the last ones to open up its nursery). Then we have carriers such as Cingular who are slowly but surely opening up access and getting closer to the i-mode model (e.g. recent Myspace announcement)

Misc.Impatica was showing their solution of running PowerPoint from blackberry. Pretty slick and easy. Another interesting app I learned about was that of using SIM as a token generator for authentication. This can be really handy for corporate security.

Later this week, I am leaving for Korea to meet with some really smart guys in the wireless industry and experience the wireless broadband capital of the world first hand.

Your comments are always welcome.

Copyright, 2006 Chetan Sharma Consulting. All Rights Reserved