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ANALYSTS SEE POTENTIAL FOR DATA OVER CELLULAR TRANSMISSIONS

Strategy Analytics debated the future of data transmission over cellular networks in a conference call last week, and found that while current usage levels are low in both Europe and the United States, there is great potential for such advanced services.

In Europe, where Global System for Mobile communications networks with short message and data capabilities are fairly ubiquitous, 91 percent of subscribers never use the available information services, 51 percent never receive SMS messages and only 26 percent use their voice mail options frequently.

The primary reasons for this, said Strategy Analytics’ U.K.-based analyst Mark Holden, is that carriers are not spending any money marketing the services or educating consumers on their use, as they still are concentrating primarily on voice. Also, European carriers charge for these services at a premium, and mass-acceptance won’t come about until the price goes down.

However, he said he expects carriers to slowly begin marketing the services more and at a cheaper price so non-voice services will generate more revenues in the next two-to-three years.

The services that will attract customer attention include message notification, information delivery and traffic reports, as well as mobile data applications such as fixed remote monitoring and fleet management.

“I don’t think there’s a need for data-centric devices for (European) consumers because I don’t believe consumers have a desire for interactive data,” said Holden, explaining his bullishness over the potential for cellular data. A simple data application on a phone device that allows users to respond with canned responses

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