Feeds

Mobile startups dismiss 3G – for now

More money from voice than games, gambling and girls

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Relying on 3G is a recipe for trouble for wireless developers. The way to mobile start-up heaven is through exploiting today's technologies.

This is the main message we took away last night from a seminar on the wireless market, organised by VC house 3i.

Based on a survey of mobile telecoms entrepreneurs and other market intelligence, the VC house has published Wireless Untangled, a report which highlights the expected delays in 3G rollouts. On the bright side, the hold-ups will not cause irreparable damage to the industry.

Four in five of the entrepreneurs quizzed by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of 3i said that the rollout of 3G services (expected in 18 months) was not a prerequisite to success within the next three to five years. Conflicting standards (CDMA and UMTS) for mobiles were seen as a problem by many of the companies quizzed during the survey, with 64 per cent of entrepreneurs reporting that this had negatively affected their business.

The key to reaching profitability is finding and reaching a customer base with immediate revenue potential, leaders of startup firms believe. Many mobile startups are targeting the enterprise sector rather than consumers.

Revenues from advertising and mobile commerce were not seen to be significant over the medium term, but 87 per cent of entrepreneurs quizzed were far more positive about the prospect of consumers paying for entertainment services (such as music or video).

Games, gambling and girls

3i invited along senior representatives from a number of wireless startups (tools vendors, payment firms and the like) to the launch of the white paper. It was noticeable how conservative their approach was after a difficult year for the mobile industry.

Carriers, particularly in the UK, have paid colossal amounts for 3G licences but there is a marked lack of enthusiasm for the 'games, gambling and girls (or guys)' types of content which 3G promises.

Voice is seen as a major revenue earner for carriers even after the introduction of 3G, and there is uncertainty about how to ramp up data traffic.

"The industry is scratching its head about how to introduce content," said Chris Wade of CPS, a firm which develops mobile location technology.

"This isn't a problem that will be solved easily or quickly," he added.

There was talk of providing less obvious content, such as horoscopes, and location-aware content that helped people plan their leisure time, but no firm conclusions on how to drive more revenues from consumers were reached.

For businesses high-speed access to corporate Intranets was seen as a huge potential market, particularly in the US where the business market is seen as stronger. In Europe, carriers tend to be more focused on the consumer market.

The fragmentation of devices, with different user interfaces specific to different countries is seen as an emerging trend - based on different usage patterns in, for example, the US (where pens and keyboards are popular) and Japan (where devices that can be used with a thumb are all the rage).

This has important implication for the development of smartphones. One wag at the meeting observed that however smartphones develop they need to be reliable and the last thing we needed was ctrl, Alt, Delete buttons on every phone. reg;

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.