Research groups are estimating that the worldwide ringtone market is now worth at least US$2.5 billion (€2 billion), with some groups claiming that it’s nearer US$3.5 billion (€2.85 billion).
The US market makes up just a tiny proportion of the US$2.5 billion figure, accounting for just US$140 million (€114 million) of ringtone sales – the bulk of the market is in Europe and Asia.
Like text messaging, ringtones are another completely unexpected mobile phone success story – ten years ago, mobile networks thought they’d be making their money from obvious things like phone calls.
Perhaps those guys in the panda outfits weren’t so daft after all.
WAP, however, was an unexpected failure – adoption of the difficult to use, worse to implement internet browsing protocol has been extremely slow. Slow to the point that it will soon be bypassed by traditional internet access on phones. Like teletext but slower and less interesting, figures from the Mobile Data Association indicate that 1.11 billion WAP pages were viewed during June 2004, up from 784 million in June 2003. The MDA estimate that the year total will be 13 billion for the year.