Analyst group AMR Interactive has predicted that future mobile phone technologies will focus on fixed-to-mobile substitutions, simple data content, RFID integration and an increasing role of phone cameras.
Speaking at MediaConnect's Kickstart 2004 conference, principal analyst Jason Juma-Ross identified key areas for the future of mobile phone technology. According to Juma-Ross, the local industry is healthy, with an estimated worth of $10 billion, citing increased competition and better incentives to switch to mobile phone packages as strong motivators for the uptake.
The type of content, however, is not going to change too much. While 3G and rich data services are gaining momentum, it's still going to take a while before it becomes the medium of choice for phone users.
"Mobile content over the next few months is going to stay very, very simple," says Juma-Ross.
Furthermore, when rich content does take off, phones are likely to suffer the similar issues to PCs, particularly in the area of data recovery. He also notes that RFID technology will be integrated onto mobile phones, providing functions like targeted advertising depending on where the user is located.
Cameras, too, will see an increasing role according to Juma-Ross, pointing to various privacy concerns and infringements involving students photographing copyrighted works. However, the increased demand for camera phones is likely to have a beneficial byproduct in the broadband industry where the "sharing of images will drive ADSL adoption this year."
Finally, fixed-to-mobile substitution (FMS) is on the increase. Juma-Ross points out that, for the first time, mobile phone subscribers outnumber fixed line subscriptions, with an increase in users substituting their landline with a mobile phone. He also warns that telcos may not be beneficial in encouraging landline users to shift to a mobile phone package, as this puts the user in a highly competitive environment. Consequently, this could lead to the telco losing the customer altogether.
With the increase of fixed-to-mobile substitutions, all forms of communication are likely to be based on digital technology, creating the need for Unified Communication platforms. Also speaking at Kickstart 2004, Alcatel's Business Development Manager Brian Bird believes the future of telecommunications will arise from these IP-based, all-in-one communication networks, however the "IP world isn't mature enough yet" for business-related calls.