Text messaging will remain the dominant form of mobile data usage in 2008. That's according to Australia-based global telecoms market research behemoth Budde.com, which has predicted that the delivery of media-rich mobile content will experience only slow growth.
In its 2008 'Global Mobile – Data and Content Markets' report, Budde notes that competition within the mobile data sector is “increasing” and that usage is “starting to grow, albeit slowly”.
The biggest barriers to an increased take-up of “wireless data, mobility services and media rich content,” according to a description of the report, are the “business and technical fundamentals of the current marketplace”.
In other words, the technology generally either isn’t fast enough or reliable enough, and when it is it’s often prohibitively expensive. Budde believes that what’s really needed to unlock the potential of the mobile data market is 4G or WiMAX, even suggesting that such technology could end up leapfrogging HSPA as the dominant technology.
It's good to talk
However, it’s not all bad news for mobile data operators. Budde predicts that itchy text-fingers around the globe will account for some three trillion texts by the end of the year.
As far as Budde is concerned, what people really want is to stay in touch. Watching episodes of Family Guy and suchlike at the bus stop isn’t what people really want, nor is it in any way a guaranteed path to riches for the industry.
Similarly, millions of men around the world will happily use their mobiles to check the sports results and read the odd bit of news on their mobiles. But such functions are far less important than being able to keep in contact with people.
It seems that, for many, phones are tools for talking, texting and communicating with. Until the providers can get mobile data costs down to negligible amounts, most will continue to avoid those services associated with heavy data usage.