Your Next Big Thing: Growth Market—Wireless Services

Written by ProfitGuide Staff
The millions of people going wireless add up to a vast market for new mobile services. Much of the action centres on the No. 1 wireless device: the cellphone.The latest thing is to use them as a “third screen” (after TVs and computers) to view video content. Rogers, Bell Canada and Telus now offer streaming video so mobile users can view content from the likes of CBC and MuchMusic. “I’m excited about cell TV,” says technology author and consultant Rick Broadhead. “It will mean a new platform for advertising, and new content-development opportunities for small businesses.” The latter includes producing programming for tiny phone screens.

Cell TV’s growth promises to accelerate if cellphones equipped with Wi-Fi, an increasingly popular broadband wireless platform, prove a hit. That may depend on whether consumers value being able to switch from low-speed cell service to high-speed Wi-Fi wherever it’s offered, as in many café chains, hotel lobbies and airport lounges. So far, Motorola’s CN620 is one of the few models on the market.

Wi-Fi’s rapid growth is opening up other prospects. A few cities are forming “metropolitan area networks” to make Wi-Fi far more available. (Example: the Fred-eZone network virtually blankets the downtown core in Fredericton, N.B., where real estate developers use it as a selling point.) As Wi-Fi-enabled devices spread, including almost every new laptop, demand for access promises to make Wi-Fi almost as ubiquitous as phone service-finally paving the way for long-promised mobile mapping and product-location applications.

Another hot sector exists, thanks to the explosive growth of text messaging. Canadians send 3.7 million messages a day, which has bred new marketing agencies specializing in text-based promotional campaigns, such as MyThum Interactive in Toronto. With the number of messages doubling every year, there’s plenty of room for more such agencies.

© 2005 Allan Britnell

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