Mobile Web potential untapped

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BRUSSELS -- Arguments over common technology standards are holding mobile Internet services to just a fraction of their potential, according to a new study.

Operators and service providers could be raking in as much as $66 billion a year from mobile Internet services, a 600% increase from the $9.5 billion they are currently earning, the Yankee Group said in a report published Thursday.

The group blamed service providers and their technology partners for failing to overcome barriers to adoption quickly enough. It said that many consumers are being denied affordable and reliable mobile access to the Internet, and service providers are missing out on a huge revenue opportunity.

"If operators make it a priority to provide accessible, easy-to-use services and flat-rate price plans, they can drive significant additional growth in mobile data usage and ARPU," said Yankee Group's consumer research director Declan Lonergan. "Demand for mobile access to the Internet is far greater than has been achieved to date."

He said that the $66 billion figure touted for global consumer mobile Internet services was actually a conservative estimate, because it refers only to access. In fact, it excludes all incremental revenue from the billions of transactions consumers would generate if they had ubiquitous mobile Internet access.

"Most future projections are also conservative," Lonergan said. "This is because success of the mobile Internet continues to be restrained by several obstacles that litter the path to our vision of ubiquitous connectivity."
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