Archives for September 2003
September 30, 2003
A report from the Yankee Group claims that mobile operators around the world will be spared from declining revenues thanks to increased use of data services, reports Electricnews.net.
"In its report, "Data ARPUs Save the Day for Wireless Operators," US -based Yankee Group asserts that over the next four years, the number of mobile phone subscribers globally will grow nearly 9 percent, exceeding 1.75 billion. But since the new customers are likely to use their phones far less than existing subscribers, ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) will fall, argued Wally Swain, an analyst with the Yankee Group.
In fact, the Yankee Group claims that overall voice revenues could plunge as well, despite the increased number of users, partly due to competitive pressures that will force the cost of calls down.
But revenues from data services -- such as SMS, MMS, e-mail, remote corporate access, Internet access and games --will buoy ARPU and overall mobile operator revenues, the Yankee Group said."
A smoke detecting mobile could help save hundreds of lives, according to two Romanian inventors, Marian Gavrila and Garbriel Patulea, who are in the process of registering the idea internationally with the Canadian Patents Office.
The mobile phone would have a battery with sensors in it that check changes in the atmosphere. The sensors pick up and compare data, alerting the owner if there are any worrying changes, according to the BBC.
A corporate directory that enables employees to look up the telephone numbers of fellow staff by SMS was launched by Telstra yesterday.
Telstra chief technology officer Hugh Bradlow said the directory -- designed and developed at the Telstra Research Laboratories -- was a first for Australia, and possibly the world. [Australian IT]
Update. According to a comment posted on this article by Mike Hartley, apparently t-mobile uk has had a similar demo ap for quite some time. "Works like a dream, send a search string to a short code number, receive the full phone book entry by return. Lightning fast and if you select the 'use number' option from the SMS menu you don;t even have to retype the number."
For the first time in MTV Europe Music Awards history, the winners of the «Best Song» category will be voted for live by SMS text messaging during the Awards.
MTV Europe viewers vote for the winners of all other award categories online across MTV Europe's network of 12 websites - with the exception of the winner of Best Video award, which will be chosen exclusively by MTV Europe. And the Web Award which is voted for exclusively online by MTV website users. [TV Barn].
Start-up company"Autrement Bon", meaning "Otherwise Delicious" in French, is offering gourmet grocery shopping by SMS, for those living in the cities of Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Customers sign up on the merchant Web site and define their culinary preferences, which leads to a suggestive menu of healthy and balanced meals from autremontbon.com. Orders are then placed by text messaging with the company delivering the fresh produce to customers' doorsteps, according to an article in (French) Netéconomie.
waycentral.com, a Singapore online DVD-rental company which lets you return the discs simply by dropping them into the mail with a prepaid envelope, is now latching on to the popularity of SMS to let customers confirm a rental with their mobile phone, according to The Straits Times.
"Customers still have to go online first to reserve a movie. WayCentral then notifies them once the disc becomes available.Customers who reply to the SMS by 3pm, will receive the disk at their home address by that evening".
Mobile portal Clubtigermob.com, in a recent tie-up with the Thai editions of Penthouse and For Men, has added pictures of women in sexy poses for download onto cell phones, amongst criticism by parents for offering youngsters "inappropriate" content. You can seen why they would object, it looks very much like a teenage portal.
"We've done this to offset the ebbing popularity of the normal content," said Isoon Thiraniti, director of content and licensing at SAM Click Co, which runs Clubtigermob.com.
He said downloads of such content were rising fast and the pictures were just sexy, not sexually provocative, and not as explicit as those in Penthouse editions abroad. [nationalmultimedia.com].
September 29, 2003
Some companies are reducing or eliminating e-mail in a bid to curtail computer spam and viruses - the latter often spread via e-mail and costing companies billions of dollars a year in lost productivity - and turning toward text messaging and voice calls overs cell phones instead, reports USA Today.
Some examples cited by USA Today:
- "Software maker Mobile Automation brought down e-mail use by 20% this year when it relied more on cell phones and instant messaging which, so far, isn't a big spam target.
- Security-services firm Guardent recently armed 25 of its 150 employees with cell phones. "People were spending five hours a day doing nothing but trading messages and deleting spam," says company President Paul Brady. "E-mail was not that productive or the best direct communication."
The mobile content gold rush is far from over. 10% of Europe's SMS traffic now comes from value-added services and content such as ringtones, quizzes and mobile chat. The opportunities are there, the infrastructure is in place and mobile users are willing to pay for content, according to startups.co.uk.
"The European market for ringtones alone is estimated to be worth over 1billion euros per year. So what does it take to make money from SMS? Craig Barrack, UK country manager for Netsize explains some of the dos and don'ts of launching a successful SMS service".
It seems the Lebanese love advertising and that their marketers are very good at it.
The latest industry trend, according to the Daily Star "indicate a move toward mobility, such as SMS advertising, and "ad imbedding" in newly purchased cellular phones".
That's a first, "ad embedding" where mobile users will be welcomed by a brand name (Hugo Boss, D&G, Swatch...) instead of by their operator or cell phone manufacturer, when they first turn on a new cell phone. Think of how far one can take this concept, by offering a voucher for a Big Mac, a coupon to be redeemd against a pair of Nike shoes, or why not? a fund raising campaign or a political message.
Japan's ever-evolving cellular phone service will soon add blockbuster role-playing videogames «Dragon Quest» and «Final Fantasy» to its content menu. They should be available early next year on NTT DoCoMo's new handsets. [Forbes] via [Mobile Media Japan].
A new soap opera in UK called «InYrShoes» will not be decided by scriptwriters but by viewers using text messages...Fans will be able to keep up with the soap's development through traditional method, via text-message updates or through photostrip multimedia messages sent direct to their mobiles. In typical soap style, the end of each episode features a cliffhanger or dilemma - and that's where the audience takes control, according to The Guardian via Moco News.
Nokia plans to start reporting revenue and earnings for two new divisions, one selling multimedia handsets and one selling mobile technology to firms, alongside figures for its existing mobile-phone and mobile-networks units, according to the WSJ.
Following Italy's blackout early Sunday morning, hitting most of Italy except for the islands of Sardinia and Capri and several limited areas on the mainland — a Civil Protection Agency sent text messages to Roman cellphones asking residents to remain home unless absolutely necessary. [NY Times]
It's a good thing to remember, that text messaging should be used in an emergency:
-- Last May, The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), reminded all Americains in a press release, that text messaging was the fastest, most efficient and reliable way to communicate in the event of an emergency. And that wireless users should rely on text messaging in crisis situations, allowing for people who need to make voice calls - emergency responders and 911 callers - to get through more easily.
-- During last summer's massive power blackout in the Eastern US, mobile phone service was unavailable for many -- text messsage services remained largely functional. cf In the Blackout, cell failed but text prevailed.
September 28, 2003
An anti-corruption watchdog in the Philippines, The Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), has set up a "report-a-mistress" hotline which the public can call or text-message to, to report any "extramarital affairs" conducted by governement officials, soldiers and policemen, that may result in corruption.
"Predominantly a Roman Catholic nation, many Filipino men have mistresses and even second families. Former President Joseph Estrada was well-known for his extra-marital affairs. He is thought to have kept his mistresses in palatial mansions.
The Philippines has been ranked the third most corrupt country in Asia, with an estimated $48bn lost through government corruption in the past 20 years".
In June 2002, 1 billion text messages were sent by wireless subscribers in the U.S., according to the Washington-based Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA). The figure was up from 30 million in June 2001. [pressconnects.com]
Wired reports on entrepreneurs speaking at a conference in San Diego on Marketing by text messaging. "Marketing boosters predict that plenty of American users will be willing to opt in and even agree to pay standard rates to receive tips about promotions and special events on their cell phones".
Even though such campaigns are at a much greater cost than a typical billboard, TV or radio ad - costing between 10 and 35 cents for each SMS sent. Why so expensive? Because the method is effective and direct. What other medium allows a marketer to reach a potential customer, litterally in his pocket by attracting his immediate attention with a beep - and who has opted-in to receive such a message to boot?
"Customers actually appreciate good, targeted messages," said Jonathon Linner, chief executive officer of Enpocket , whose company claims to send as many as 15 million text messages a week to cell-phone users for clients like Nike and Nestlé."
Europe has some experience in SMS marketing, for insight, check out previous entries in textually: Mmm-commerce - How Sweet Can It Be?, Car makers encouraged to text customers and Mktng via txt – most frequent legal questions.
September 26, 2003
Though it's becoming hard to keep track of all of the statements by airlines with regard to their world-first SMS services - making reservations, checking-in or tracking arrival and departure times - Australian Airlines Qantas will be offering as of this month, an SMS service to customers in all classes, using their in-seat telephone handset, allowing them to send text messages to the ground, AND to receive replies - which may very well be as they claim, a world-first.
Just for the record, Swiss airline-technology provider SITA announced just last week, the launch of a two-way in-flight SMS service, but only by the end of this year.
Lucky Qantas Business Class passengers will be offered free, unlimited use of the new Qantas Short Message Service (SMS) system for one month, according to EyeForTravel.
In Australia, the mobile phone industry - at $5 billion - is now worth more to the economy than car manufacturing, reports smh.
About 14 million people are spending over $8 billion annually on their mobile phones, says a report by the industry's peak users body.
The Communications Minister, Richard Alston, who released the report yesterday, said roughly 72 per cent of the population now used a mobile phone and that last year, the number of mobiles overtook the number of fixed lines - 12.7 million mobile services compared with 11.4 million fixed services.
Four years ago, text messages accounted for only 1 per cent of revenue, but by last year that had leapt to 7.5 per cent - or about $600 million worth of messages.
55 million text messages per day were sent across the four UK GSM networks during August 2003, according to the Mobile Data Association.
This compares to UK daily averages of 45 million in August 2002 and 34 million in August 2001.
August's figure takes the cumulative total for 2003 to 13.3 billion, according to Telecom Paper
A 43-year-old South African gentleman is bombarded with 25 to 30 text messages a day - all of them sordid and unwanted, according to Cape Argus. Richard Bryant is harassed daily as there is a one-digit difference between his cellphone number and that of popular chat and dating service LoveSMS. Change your phone number, is what I say.
The BBC has an interesting article on PTT enabled phones, questioning whether the walkie-talkie feature will make SMS obsolete. A concern raised in Textually before but not a serious one, I don't think. People talking on their cell phones is disruptive enough to everyone around them, but if hearing the voices of two people talking off and on becomes commonplace, it will be simply unbearable. A walkie talkie feature will never replace what is most appealing in text messaging in the first place, the silence, the discretion of it. In a meeting, in class, on the bus, in a waiting room or if you're just a kid, in bed when you should be sleeping...
Excerpts from the BBC:
"Push-to-talk has proved immensely popular in the United States, and Nextel, the mobile phone operator which dominates the US push-to-talk market, has 12 million customers for its service.
Last year US users sent over 62 billion push-to-talk messages, says Nextel.
Now a Chicago-based company, FastMobile, plans to launch a push-to-talk service called FastChat in the UK.
[...] Push-to-talk systems use the "always-on", low cost data network GPRS to send messages from one mobile phone to another, bypassing expensive voice networks, push-to-talk messages can be sent at a similar cost to a text message, even internationally.
The quality of the voice messages is the same or better than mobile phone calls because the messages are compressed just like voice calls, but less data is "lost".
Push-to-talk is not designed as a replacement to normal phone conversations, but as a quick and convenient alternative to texts.
It does away with the bother and expense of dialling a number, according to James Tagg, European Managing Director of FastMobile.
More than five billion text messages were sent in the first quarter of this year alone, according to figures from Oftel.
Many of the "meet me in the pub in 20 minutes" type of messages sent by the most active texters, 18 to 26 year olds, could be conveniently sent as push-to-talk messages."
For more on Push-to-Talk, check out this category in Textually.
Text Messaging has been offered on landline phones in various countries, cf previous posts - Texting from Landline Phones and SMS on landlines in India - but to the best of my knowledge, this it the first time MMS is offered on fixed-line phones.
"LogicaCMG says that its MMS solution will be used by ITENOS (International Telecom Network Operation Services), a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom, to launch the country's first fixed-line MMS service, reports Cellular News.
This new service will allow for content providers to deliver rich multimedia content to fixed-line handsets.
By offering MMS and other data services to fixed-line subscribers, application and content providers are able to target specific market segments such as teenagers, the elderly, ethnic communities and business users with special products and tariffs".
A message to mobile industry insiders and wireless tech bloggers: unwired.cc is a listserv and community exploring the business and culture of mobile technology, open to participants by invitation only.
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If you'd like to request an invite to join, e-mail info[at]unwired.cc and tell them a little about yourself. They welcome new subscribers who are doing interesting things with wireless tech.
On a personal note, it provides me with an invaluable source of information and opinion.
Microsoft Corp. has created a new business unit that will develop product packages for the fledgling market of content delivery to mobile devices, the company said Thursday, reports Infoworld via Moco News.
The new Communications and Mobile Solutions unit will sell to fixed and mobile phone operators, Web hosting providers and entertainment and media companies
September 25, 2003
For those unable to attend Bharat Thakur's Yoga classes, Indian Bharti Cellular is offering the guru's personalised tips on Yoganidra, breathing exercises, meditation and yoga exercises to rejuvenate themselves by SMS. [Rediff]
A new survey of Asian mobile phone habits has revealed that Filipinos have the fewest hang-ups about saying "I love you" in a text message--while Indians seem to be the most reserved about messaging tender feelings, reports C/net Asia.
The findings also show that Filipinos are also the most likely to break up a relationship via SMS. In fact, Filipinos are more likely to do more of everything over SMS--love, fight, break up and send an embarrassing message to the wrong person.
And alarming, the study points out that generally, more South-East Asians prefer to send SMS than read a book, especially in the 15 to 19 year-old age group.
It is a centuries-old tradition to place a note with a prayer or request in the Western Wall and for years, several Web sites have been offering Jews around the world the option to send their prayers by e-mail to a rabbi who prints them out and places them for them in Jerusalem's Western Wall.
Now an Isreali company is offering to do the same, but with text messages, for a fee (five shekels, about $1.20). So far 30 000 text messages have been received, according to iol.
The catholic church has been very inventive in using SMS (cf SMS and Religion category, but this is the first time I've read anything about Jews using text messaging.