Don't believe the mobile hype

Mobile phone manufacturers are leading a campaign of hype to boost the mobile phone data market, IT analyst Paul Budde, from Paul Budde Communications, said yesterday.

Budde, speaking at the Australian Technology User Group conference, said the future of data transfer was in "wireless data to the home and business". He said a mobile phone would "always be a mobile phone" and not a data carrier. Budde claimed mobile data protocols such as WAP and GPRS would only ever service niche markets.

While Budde said he "didn't blame" phone manufacturers for trying to sell as many WAP phones bundled with carrier packages as possible, he said the companies were "looking for ways to protect lucrative mobile phone profits".

Budde said mobile manufacturers, faced with decreasing margins, had realised the necessity to offer a service, such as data support, as well as a product.

However, while Telstra had offered data services for the past ten years, the telecommunications giant had only ever managed to attract 35,000 subscribers to the service over that time, Budde said.

He said mobile phones were more suited to the provision of voice-added services such as messaging.

While Budde said he saw definite prospects in the wireless to home and business market, he didn't believe the protocol would be able to offer the appropriate speeds and level of access necessary for it to be successful until at least 2005.

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