CHICAGO -- Things are still just ramping up here, while Yankee Group analyst Philip Marshall started this morning's keynotes with some perspective.
He said more than 40 percent of consumers surveyed want mobile Internet access, but less than 10 percent can access the Internet on the go.
He said that's because it's expensive, it's not packaged attractively by wireless carriers and, to a lesser extent, the service performs poorly.
From a WiMax provider's perspective, he asked, how do you economically deliver mobile Internet services in an environment that's looking for unlimited data, or all you can eat?.
He said that puts the pressure on the carriers to figure out how to make money as they transition from focusing on voice calling to an Internet model.
"The Internet is emerging using the service provider as a distribution and market," he said. "It looks like an Internet browser and the service providers are challenged by that because the service model has to change."
He said providers need to move from a communications-centric model to a media- centric model. He points to Google, which took the fairly straightforward technology of Internet search and bundled it with advertising.
Marshall summarized the current market has having latent demand for mobile Internet.
Moderator Berge Ayvazian, also of Yankee, asked Marshall if latent demand means pent-up demand: "Is it latent because people don't bang on the door insisting for it, and asking to uncork it and unbottle it?"
Marshall said perhaps that's true if companies provide services that consumers really want, just like on the Internet, but they had to find the applications that would really drive adoption.
"I'm not sure what those services are going to look like in the mobile world," he said. "whereas in the Internet world, we had to go beyond just connection."