2007 – The Year of the Business Model

Each year in the spring 3GSM, the highlight fair of the GSM sector, takes place in Barcelona. This fair brings together all small and large players of the mobile telephony from everywhere in the world. More than 1.200 exhibitors and 55.000 visitors were present at this year’s edition. What are the big trends and what can we expect in the near future?

Trend 1: 2007 – “The Year of the Business Model”
With this quote by the CEO of T-Mobile during his keynote speech on 3GSM, the tone of the 3GSM congress was set. To compensate the downfall of revenue from speech, new money sources will have to be found. This year we will see many experiments with new business models.
Firstly, there are a lot of expectations from social networking tools and user generated content. All large mobile phone groups would love to repeat success stories as those of MySpace and YouTube on mobile platforms. Photo and video sharing services will also quickly appear on mobile platforms. The Belgian/French Moblr is an interesting initiator.
Another certainty is that large players will want their share of the very promising mobile advertising market. The attention is mostly directed to the upcoming market of mobile paying search systems. During the congress in Barcelona, the largest mobile operators gathered to discuss the creation of a common search robot, competing Yahoo! and Google.

Trend 2: Mobile internet and push-email on the rise
In 2006 the mobile operators all over the world have opened their mobile internet environment a bit to ‘off-portal’ content providers. Belgium saw the launch of the PlazZza platform, which allows content providers to advertise their services. In 2007, the mobile Internet will be in the centre of attention for the large internet players such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!. They will extend their offer with products that are complementary to their internet services. The recent acquisition of Tell Me by Microsoft illustrates this.
New this year is that more and more internet players will also market ‘on-device’ portals. The new Yahoo! Go Mobile for example was one of the show-offs in Barcelona. These applications can be downloaded and contain the most important functionalities locally. Data transfer over the still slow mobile networks are mineralized and executed in the background. For the consumer, it’s more user-friendly and the costs for the data transfer are lower. It remains to be seen whether such local applications can be effectively divided and sustained for a large group of users and devices.
Lastly, in 2007-2008 we can expect a larger scale of ‘push-email’ applications, mostly directed to consumers. Such applications allow to send e-mail messages in the background to the mobile phone. In the long term, push email will be an important competitor for SMS.

Interactive mobile TV

Trend 3: Mobile TV stays hot
Mobile TV was still strongly present at the 3GSM congress. Mobile TV today still creates a lot of enthusiasm with hardware and telecom providers. TV broadcast is becoming an important feature in the value proposition of the mobile phone of the future. The small screens now give a fantastic resolution. The mobile operators also keep the faith in this opportunity and continue building their broadband and broadcast capacity. Question is whether the consumer is actually waiting for this and whether he is willing to pay extra for it.

A lot is still about to happen in the further development of tomorrow’s mobile multimedia world.

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