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January 25, 2007

InCode's 2007 wireless predictions

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 12:01 AM

InCode, a technology consulting firm owned by VeriSign, released its Top 10 Global Wireless Predictions for 2007 today.

Although the list attempts to identify the emerging wireless trends. the 2007 predictions are not shocking, but are based on a lot of talk in 2006 coming true in the new year.

Here are some:

-- Social networking will become more mobile. In many cases, that already has happened with MySpace, Facebook and others launching mobile initiatives. But in 2007, inCode predicts that there will become a location component added -- users will be able to find friends and events in close proximity to them.

-- Mobile TV will start to become available. Verizon Wireless already has launched broadcast TV with Qualcomm's MediaFlo. Other operators are expected to join the mix soon. InCode thinks wireless users are unlikely to plunk down a monthly subscription for the service, but will instead pay per view, also called "sneaking."

-- Mobile advertising will break loose. This is another item that seems to be fairly predictable after being the subject of extensive discussion in 2006. inCode said that the technoligical ability to target and measure the effectiveness of mobile advertising will be attractive to big brands.

There were predictions that were less obvious: The price of handsets will fall. InCode said Intense competition and margin pressure will force prices of high speed, or third-generation handsets below $90, making them affordable for a wide range of users. The $90 price point is the cost to the carrier. Bengt Nordström, inCode's vice president and chief strategy officer, said that price was about $170 in 2006.

And something not a prediction, but listed as something on inCode's wish list, is probably a favorite among all users: Go back to basics. InCode said that wireless operators need to get things right, such as battery life, coverage holes, E911 access, and confusing bills and frustrating customer service.

One last category I'd like to add are things that didn't make the list of 2007 predictions:

-- WiMax: "It was in the top 20 list or something," Nordström said. "Our assessment, is that it's very important, especially in the US, but 2007 is not the breakthrough year. It will be in the 2008 predictions."

-- The iPhone. Nordström said the phone came out after the predictions were set, and that since the phone won't come out for another six months, it may be too early to speculate about it. "It all comes down to when we actually see it in hand, and see how it functions and so forth. I think they are brave, breaking with the convention on what a phone should look like," Nordstrom said.

For the company's previous predictions, go here.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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