There are signs at 3GSM this year that some mobile companies are getting tired of searching for a killer application to drive data revenues.
After the explosive growth of SMS on 2G handsets, mobile operators have searched in vain for an innovation to do the same for 3G.
"It was the classic example of customer-driven innovation," said Phil McKinney, chief technical officer at HP's Personal Systems Group.
"As for 3G I do not know. Mobile instant messaging is not taking off, MMS got killed by pricing, mobile TV might work but no-one wants to watch more than a couple of minutes on a handset. The search goes on."
One of the key applications being talked about at 3GSM is GPS, but there is little sign of widespread consumer demand for such services.
Even in the enterprise, such systems have limited appeal beyond specific industries such as transport and logistics.
"I think we will see more steady growth rather than an explosion," said Eduardo Conrado, vice president of marketing for Motorola Enterprise.
"Individual applications within enterprises, built by value added resellers and independent software vendors, are the way to go. Use will grow steadily and thus data revenues."
Conrado also said that network operators should concentrate on enterprise customers, since they are far more loyal than consumers and have the potential to be far bigger data users than consumers.
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