Today saw FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, keynoting at CTIA. He referred to the wireless industry as the "poster child" of the FCC with the next phase of governmental regulation involving "managing the fuits of (the industry's) success." The issue of spectrum allocation was also addressed. Chariman Powell said progress in that area is slow and difficult due to the many government agencies and interest groups involved.
The remainder of the keynotes looked at the current state of wireless from an international perspective. Participants included Keiji Tiachikawa, president of NTT DoCoMo in Japan, Mauro Sentinelli, Managing Director of Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Young-Kyung Lee, President and CEO of Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF), and Andy Sukawaty, President and COO of Callahan Associates Internatiohnal, LLC.
An issue addressed with Dr. Tachikawa was increasing ARPU. He shared ways DoCoMo is generating more revenue through new services. DoCoMo's new Java service, which focuses on business users, generates twice as much ARPU as the older I-mode service.
TIM is an example of a wireless success story with Sentinelli having received a life-time achievement award from the GSM Association.
He described how his company is taking innovative approaches using SMS messaging with embedded links as an effective advertising vehicle.
Dr. Lee shared that KTF was the first company in the world of offer cdma and the first to offer 1x. He shared that Korea has a 50 percent Internet penetration rate with 20 percent having DSL connections. The younger generation tends to be the heaviest users of the wireless Internet with half of those users under the age of 20. His company currently has 1.4 million 1x customers and have found that an increase in data usage drives an increase in voice usage. KTF was also the first to launch BREW-based multiplex service with Multi-pac (KTF's commercial name for BREW).
He reported that data service accounts for 10 percent of their total revenue with expectations that will grow to 25 percent by 2005. One of their innovative marketing strategies has been to offer a discount of three cents per call if users opt to accept an advertisement in lieu of a ringtone. The demand for this application has been so great they will not be able to offer this to additional customers for several months. Dr. Lee noted that this type of advertising was effective due to the advance approval from the customer.
KTF also maintains close restrictive relationships with their content providers supplying content only to KTF customers. This year KTF will be going to open access. In this model, 10 percent of content revenue goes to carrier with the remaining 90 percent going to the content provider.
Andy Sukawaty leads o2, the rebrand from mmo2, which is the mobile spinoff of BT Wireless. They were the first to offer GPRS in the world. Their Isle of Mann project has been the only 3G network in the world outside of Japan.
Sakawaty having served as CEO of Sprint shared his experience in the wireless arena after serving as head of companies both in Europe and the US. He began by saying that "always-on is a really revolutionary thing that many people have missed". He noted that always-on embeds communications into the customer's lifestyle. He said that what drives the takup in Japan is entertainment, in Europe it's messaging, and in the USA it's information retrieval. He said O2 plans both a UK and Germany 3G rollout next year.
Tommorrow's CTIA keynote address will feature a conversation with President Mikhail Gorbachev.
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