IDC’s new study “Western European Consumer Mobile Data Applications” analyses opportunities for consumer mobile data applications in the market – and I can’t say that we were very surprised by any of the findings. IDC believe that the current state of the market is a good reflection of what to expect in the future: mobile operators will be making cash out of selling small applications, ringtones and other widgets to phone owners, in a market worth an estimated €6.67 billion (US$8 billion).
“This underlines that the wireless industry will not see the one killer application that many are still seeking and talking about,” said Paolo Pescatore, senior analyst for IDC’s European Wireless and Mobile Communications Service. “It is very much a cocktail and these applications will drive usage over GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, and HSDPA. All these applications – ring tones, gaming, video, and music – will eventually find their place on a mobile.”
IDC rightly report that demand for video is not very high, currently – and is certainly dwarfed by consumer interest in games, ringtones and SMS “texting”. As video is not very satisfying on phones at the moment, the industry must be careful not to over-hype the service or mislead consumers into thinking that they will be watching TV quality visuals on their mobile any time soon.
Operators will need to offer engaging content, the report says, and that means that they’re going to have to spend considerable amounts of money and resources securing the rights for that material, whilst partnering up with content houses.
IDC express surprise at the lack of music services for mobile users, and believe that people’s interest in music, coupled with mobility, presents a compelling reason to offer music services. IDC believe it will just take a bit longer, with operators rolling out services towards the end of the year.