by Mike Masnick

3G Will Fuel Future Mobile Growth... If Anyone Actually Signs Up

from the well-that's-inconvenient dept

Here's yet another bizarre and somewhat pointless study suggesting that the mobile market's best bet for growth is in 3G offerings -- as if anyone was seriously expecting that the growth opportunities were in older, more obsolete technologies. Clearly, the growth opportunities are to move people towards 3G systems. However, it might not be as easy as the report makes it out to be. After that initial non-prediction, it goes on to suggest the typical huge growth numbers that these analysts love to come up with. There's just one problem... a completely different study shows that people haven't quite figured out why they need 3G, and they're not rushing to sign up. Even those who understand the benefits are confused and somewhat scared about all the features on the phones. While some operators are realizing this and trying to do a better job training new users before they walk out the door with a phone, others are simply clueless. The real issue is that too many carriers still seem to be doing 3G for 3G's sake. That is, they're doing it because they know that's their best bet for growth... but they haven't stopped to figure out what people actually use mobile phones for, and how a 3G offering might really be valuable.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    saleh, Feb 8th, 2005 @ 9:02am

    Even the early adopters can't buy 3G

    A further problem is that even for people who understand and want 3G, the carriers make it almost impossible to buy. I live in Dallas, which supposedly has Cingular (old AT&T Wireless) UMTS service, but try going to either the Cingular or AT&T Wireless sites and finding it.
    Also, even if you did figure out how to buy it, you would need at least two separate devices to use a laptop with it -- I'm not aware of a single phone or PC Card that supports GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS.
    When early adopters are perfectly willing to spend $80 a month on 3G data, and the carriers can't sell it to them, things don't bode well for rapid uptake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    John Hull, Feb 8th, 2005 @ 11:22am

    Re: Even the early adopters can't buy 3G

    I think saleh's last point is the real problem: who wants to spend $80 a month for all of this? In my case, I have no problem with all the phone options and configuration. BUT, why should I pay for 3G services, when I have a computer on a T1 at work, broadband at home, and hotspots everywhere?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Mike (profile), Feb 8th, 2005 @ 11:43am

    Re: Even the early adopters can't buy 3G

    The case with AT&T Wireless/Cingular is a bit different. They didn't actually want to launch UMTS, but needed to to fulfill an agreement with DoCoMo. So, they pretty much did a terrible job on purpose right before the merger. Now that Cingular has taken over, they've stopped offering it to new customers, as they get ready for their own new HSDPA network. So... that's not a case of straight out stupidity, but more planned stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Levi Wallach, Feb 9th, 2005 @ 10:03am

    Carriers are at fault

    I'm convinced that most carriers are simply about keeping their customers in the dark, chained to long contracts, and only adding bells and whistles to get new customers. The whole industry's business plan and way of doing business is so screwed up. This is partially what is at fault for killing so many airlines. Offer different services and products to different people at different prices to the point where you speak to two reps and they tell you completely different things. If not for all the mergers, many of the big guys would have gone under due to customer dissatisfaction. Lets hope we get some startups that can make a real challenge and provide a clear product that doesn't rely on service contracts and confusing the customer...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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