While the phone-centric model currently dominates the MDS stage, over the longer term , more advanced wireless data tools such as mesh networks may well become the prime enabler for technology-based entrepreneurship (McKnight, 2001). From a policy perspective, the strategic intersection between the new value propositions enabled by MDS and liberalization of the telecommunications industry is inherently unstable, so a "wait-and-see" position is prudent.
Much of our thinking about the emerging mobile data services phenomenon is shaped by the immediacy of our experience with the Internet. Yet, a mobile phone inhabits a far more intimate space in our daily lives than television sets or personal computers. Thus, few of the marketing lessons from mass media or electronic commerce are likely to apply to mobile commerce. Many users of cell phones, carrying them everywhere and turning them on 24/7, pay close attention for the incoming stream of calls and text messages. For operators who learn to manage this attention, the new channel is an opportunity to be close to customers and thus to deliver greater value.
There will be many entirely new opportunities. Consider the geographic pattern created by mining cellular networks for data on the current location of millions of subscribers, in which directions they are moving, and at what speeds. The resulting intelligence might be used to redesign pedestrian walkways, control traffic signals, or react to natural disasters. Combined with information about individual subscribers, this creates new market research and surveillance capabilities. The challenge is to understand how to match this supply of knowledge to demand.