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Mobile media, WiMAX to top CTIA agenda

The mobile industry’s frenzied efforts to reinvent itself as a media business will continue apace at the CTIA Wireless conference in Orlando next week, according to predictions from telecoms.com’s parent, Informa Telecoms & Media.

Although a majority of revenue growth is being delivered by developing markets where basic voice and text are the most needed services, mobile TV, WiMAX and mobile advertising will still top the agenda at the event.

Gavin Patterson, principal analyst at Informa, said that the US is forecast to be the fourth fastest growing country in terms of net additions in 2007, behind India, China and Pakistan.

This highlights the fact that in the mature markets of Europe, North America and Asia the search is still on for new revenue streams that will compensate for the stagnating voice business, Paterson said.

The search for new revenue streams is likely to have intensified with the introduction of higher speed mobile technologies like HSDPA and cdma2000 1x EV-DO Revision A.

Mobile television was one of hottest topic at CTIA 2006 and visitors this year will be expecting to see how the operational trials and content are coming along. Verizon Wireless’ VCast service is expected to be under the spotlight.

The role of WiMAX in future mobile networks will also draw much debate, particularly in the light of Craig McCaw’s $600m IPO of Clearwire, which raised funds for a mobile WiMAX network build out. Sprint Nextel’s 802.16e 2005 mobile WiMAX network in Chicago and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. will also be one to watch.

Nick Lane, principal analyst at Informa, also expects mobile advertising to draw a lot of attention as the long touted concept finally seems to be gaining traction. Informa forecasts that the mobile advertising market will be worth $11.3bn by 2011.

“The sooner the mobile industry understands this emerging business model and its role within the advertising ecosystem, the sooner it can tap into that additional revenue stream,” said Lane.

“Operators have to generate user profiling that can be highly-targeted for the brands, and truly personalised for the consumer. Until this happens, mobile advertising will remain largely experimental.”


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