Mixed outlook for mobile data

25 Nov 2002

US analyst firm In-Stat/MDR has announced the result of a study which finds that while mobile data services are continuing to grow, mobile messaging is continuing to outstrip mobile internet access.

It concluded that the launch of new messaging services such as multimedia messaging services (MMS) will help grow the mobile messaging market in terms of users, from an estimated 305 million at the end of 2001 to more than one billion by the end of 2006. It also found that while smaller than the messaging market, the wireless internet market is growing at the same pace. It predicted that the mobile internet market will grow from 74 million mobile internet subscribers, at the end of 2001 to more than 320 million subscribers by the end of 2006.

The study concluded that Japan is the obvious early leader in the wireless internet market. However, competition is growing in Japan and the biggest player DoCoMo’s 3G Freedom of Mobile Access (FOMA) service, is largely failing due to minimal coverage, high device and service pricing and a lack of applications that set that technology apart from the earlier generation’s service.

Europe it found, was largely failing with GPRS technology and not including short messaging services (SMS) and other messaging services, is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of wireless data adoption.

“Going forward, the wireless internet market’s future rests largely on service pricing,” said Becky Diercks, a director with In-Stat/MDR. “In most regions, service pricing is completely inconsistent and far too expensive for the average consumer.”

By Dick O’Brien