Monday, January 08, 2007

10 Predictions for Wireless in 2007

Dean Bubley (Disruptive Wireless) put together a nice list revealing his 10 predictions for wireless in 2007.

Get the complete list with his commentary HERE (from

Here's a quick run-down:

1) Increased focus on manufacturers selling multiple "diverged" devices to users.

It only makes sense that Nokia (NOK), Apple (AAPL), Motorola (MOT) would want to offer multiple, simple, well-designed devices....strong margins should follow.

2) A lot of noise about VoIP over 3G.

Sure to steal much of the spotlight in '07.

3) Emergence of corporate-focused MVNOs

Dean says that he's waited forever, but that this could finally happen in '07.

4) Continued uptake of various dual-mode services & handsets, but they won't change the world

Dean posted last week about UMA/non-UMA developments and gave his predictions (I hope he's wrong). But he's predicting that this is still too much of a niche game.

5) Spectrum lobbying noise, regulation momentum and lawsuits ratchet up several notches.

Dean predicts that the lawyers will stay busy (2.5GHz licenses - spectrum neutrality - getting 900Mhz GSM ready for UMTS, etc....)

6) IMS confounds both its critics and its evangelists, but needs to improve integration ASAP.

The key lesson for IMS advocates to learn during 2007 will be integration - come down from your ivory towers & learn how to blend IMS with non-IMS - the real Internet, enterprise networks, SDP's, music & TV platforms and so forth. If the IMS community doesn't wholeheartedly embrace these areas of integration, in both the network and on devices, it will stagnate in 2008 and die in 2009. Isolation and "purity" is doom.

7) Navigation becomes rather more important on mobiles. Mobile search doesn't.

Handset-based navigation will become more prevalent (I agree).

Mobile search is going to take some time.

8) The City WiFi bubble bursts

Deano's not a fan of the muni-wifi. Seeing how I'm a fan of the T-Mo Hotspot, I guess I'm not either.

9) Flat-rate data becomes the norm, with browsing the killer app, driven by high-res screens

All Dean comments in numbers 9 and 10 - too interesting to summarize:

I'm still waiting for my trial X-Series phone, but I've been increasingly impressed with browsing experience recently. While cheap data tariffs are one critical driver, another has been largely overlooked - increasing screen resolution. The standard for mid-to-high end phones is now QVGA (320x240 pixels). This will increase, either with Nokia's weird 416x352 (or something like that) or more standardized full VGA (640x480). I'm a firm believer that there is no "Mobile Web," and that most people would much prefer a mobile broadband ISP experience, accessing the one, real, Internet. And of course, that means their favorite web brands & downloadable add-on client software too. The signs are already there at the end of 2006, but 2007 will be the year the mobile industry stops fantasizing about beating Google and Yahoo and Skype, and instead just gets on with optimizing their performance for their customers. Long live the Smart Pipe strategy . . .

10) No, No, No, No, No

OK, this post is already long enough, so I don't have time to detail my reasons for all of these, but I'm sure they'll crop up on the blog in coming months. Mobile IM won't replace SMS (sorry VoIP fans . . . ). Laptops with built-in HSDPA won't sell much (and even where they do, the cellular bit won't be activated by most owners). WiMAX will get a few more major operator advocates, but still won't be seen as a threat to "normal cellular." Mobile TV won't make much headway. Web 2.0 stuff like social networking really won't be a big deal in mobile outside Japan, Korea & maybe the US, unless carriers work out a way to give decent Internet access & capable devices to prepay users.

Oh, and maybe Apple's Phone-i (hey, Linksys got the iPhone brand . . . won't play music at all, but will be "just a phone." See point 1.

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