The Growth in Wireless Content Use

CyberAtlas today provides us with the following update on mobile content access:

  • Instat/MDR expects the number of worldwide wireless Internet subscribers will have risen from 74 million at the end of 2001 to more than 320 million by the end of 2006.
  • The Radicati Group expects the number of solely wireless e-mail users to grow from 1.99 million worldwide in 2003 to 8.76 million in 2007. Instat/MDR meanwhile predicts that there will be more than 1 billion SMS and MMS subscribers by the end of 2006, up from 305 million at the end of 2001.
  • Solomon-Wolff Associates noted in a July 2002 survey of 6,800 participants that 119 million people in the U.S. owned devices capable of wireless Internet services, and another 33 million showed interest, resulting in a revenue opportunity of more than $4 billion per year. “Naturally, those who already use devices such as wireless phones, laptop computers, and PDAs are more interested in wireless Internet than people who just use desktop PCs,” said Joey Wolff of Solomon Wolff Associates.
  • Yankee Group predicts the U.S. wireless phone market will reach 50 percent penetration by the end of this year. Currently, 12 percent of 18-to-24 year olds in the U.S. use telephone via nothing but mobile phones, with another 28 percent planning to cut the cord over the next 5 years.

We’re watching our former client, (The Irish Times of Dublin), which we believe will earn more this year from its wireless phone content services than from its Web site banner advertising plus its paid online subscriptions. Wireless content services should be ‘no-brainers’ for most non-American periodical publishers and require just a little forethought by American ones, but most prefer to launch new wired services that are less used, more obtuse, and less profitable. That’s too bad.