The mobile Internet: Are we there yet?

August 30, 2006

Original Post at CNEt news here

After years of hype, wireless users in the United States are waiting for all the technology pieces to come together to make surfing the Internet from their handsets as easy as it is on their PCs at home.

So how close are we to simple and robust Web surfing from a cell phone?

The answer depends on whom you ask. Some experts say the mobile Internet is already here. Millions of people throughout the world are accessing wireless application protocol, or WAP, Web sites–stripped-down sites specially designed for mobile handsets. But other experts argue that WAP sites are too limited. Some people say an entirely new domain name, called “dot-mobi,” should be used for Web sites that are optimized for mobile surfing. Still others propose using intelligent browsers to turn traditional Web sites into something that can be viewed on a small handset.

“I think what people really want is to be able to access the same sites they access on their PCs, but from their phones,” said Matt Hatton, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group based in the United Kingdom. “Once we can get the experience to look and feel more like the traditional Internet, more people will be willing to spend the money to pay for the services.”

While there is still a lot of disagreement over how subscribers should be accessing mobile Web sites, there’s almost complete agreement that when the mobile Internet finally hits mainstream adoption, it’s going to be big.

The largest U.S. mobile carriers–Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless–are already seeing huge growth in data usage. Together they generated more than $6.3 billion in wireless data revenues for the first half of 2006, said Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile wireless consultant. Overall, wireless data service revenues, which also include several regional carriers, exceeded $7 billion in the first half of the year. Mobile carriers in the U.S. could generate more than $15 billion in data revenue for all of 2006. This is almost a 75 percent jump from 2005, when data services for the entire year accounted for $8.6 billion.

Read the rest at Original Post at CNEt news here


One comment

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