While voice revenues still dominate in all markets, operators worldwide are placing increased emphasis on content and data services as the drivers of their future growth. Traditional media companies see mobile as an attractive source of revenue and are also looking to extend their audience base to mobile subscribers. As a result, cellular companies and content providers are learning to work together. Major music labels, movie studios, and TV broadcasters in Europe, the United States, and Asia have set up mobile development arms. Most major game manufacturers have also developed mobile versions of their leading titles.
As discussed earlier in this chapter, the simple mobile phone is morphing into a futuristic entertainment system and the most exciting new technology platform since the Internet. As of March 2006, there were more than 1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, which means there were at least that many mobile devices in use, compared to 690 million PCs and laptops. Entertainment giants and newly inspired entrepreneurs are rushing to develop songs, graphics, games, and videos to populate millions of tiny screens on the new "superphones."
Mobile is the fourth screen, after movies, TV, and the PC. Whereas production costs for a big-budget film run about US$1 million per minute, production costs for the mobile world range from US$2,000 to US$8,000 per minute. Some call the mobile phone the most exciting software platform in history. After all, mobile has become an essential part of daily life around the world. There is content for everyonecommuters, cooks, children, adults, sports enthusiasts, navigators, mothers, gamblers, poets, gardeners, musicians, game players, romantics, and so on; the list is as endless as imagination.
Currently the major drivers for mobile content come from the entertainment industry. The following are some examples:
The rapid growth in mobile communications is having an enormous impact on both national economies and societies. Penetration levels are high around the worldand rising. As new mobile data services are introduced, we are seeing a paradigm shift. Some of the key challenges to deal with include the following:
The many challenges ahead need to be addressed by supporting targeted R&D, supplementing basic research, and accelerating technical innovation.
Part I: Communications Fundamentals
Telecommunications Technology Fundamentals
Traditional Transmission Media
Establishing Communications Channels
Part II: Data Networking and the Internet
Data Communications Basics
Local Area Networking
Wide Area Networking
The Internet and IP Infrastructures
Part III: The New Generation of Networks
Broadband Access Alternatives
Part IV: Wireless Communications
Wireless Communications Basics
WMANs, WLANs, and WPANs
Emerging Wireless Applications