The lack of a "killer application" will impact worldwide take-up of Third Generation Mobile (3GM) standard over the next decade.
That is the claim of analyst company Ovum's latest report, Third Generation Mobile: Market Strategies.
With no killer app, personalised content would be king, according to Ovum, as network operators would have to work to differentiate themselves and attract customers.
"Whoever delivers a compelling package of personalised content, in other words succeeds with the `wireless portal', will own the customer," said Dan Gardiner, Ovum analyst and lead author of the report
Repackaging Internet content will just not be enough to win over customers. Personalisation of content will be key, said the report. However providing such content is easier said than done and Ovum predicted that content provision would require experimentation and even niche market development.
Ovum believes the global take-up of 3GM will take the industry to at least 2006. By 2010 Ovum predicts that 3GM networks will carry traffic from one billion, or 63 per cent, of the world's cellular subscribers - accounting for $548 billion or 66 per cent of the global cellular service revenue.
The rollout will provide new opportunities for hardware vendors. On the infrastructure side, the report said Cisco and 3Com will have the advantage because of their experience with the IP protocol.
If traditional telecommunications hardware companies, such as Siemens, want to be at the 3GM party they will have to devote more emphasis to IP and shift more resources towards software and support services, the report noted.
For phone/terminal vendors there are a number of challenges. The report stated that the phones have to be low-cost to customers so that as many people as possible can come on board to begin to pay down the high costs of actually implementing the networks.
Battery life will be important so that consumers will be able to take advantage of the data-driven applications. The phones will have to be simple to use and hide the complexity of the network from the consumer, said the report.
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