Wireless Net Neutrality ... Does it Make Any Sense?

US as Traffic Cop in Web Fight (see WSJ article)

Ok, so there is a bit of wait and see until Monday when the FCC Chairman makes the anticipated announcement, but here's a first take:

Who, I ask, is on the side of the consumer?  This WSJ article discusses how Obama is taking the side of Silicon Valley. Republicans seem to be taking the side of the carriers. WHO is on my side as a consumer?

Most consumers are NOT demanding the ability to stream unlimited video to their cell phones. In fact, very few are even looking for video capability in their next handset purchase. If you are a Forrester client, come ask me/us for the data - we can show you. Consumers are more interested in their battery lasting all day than streaming video ... which will kill it.

What consumers WANT from their wireless service providers is high quality, reliable voice services. Really, it is. We ask consumers year in and year out what it is they want in a wireless service provider. Quality of service and value always come out on top.

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How do you get my Mom to buy gadgets?

You have Oprah promote them and offer a special coupon. That's all. That's how my Mom learned about the Kindle. She was motivated by the offer and bought one.

T-Mobile is using this tactic with their HTC 3G myTouch device. See Fierce post.


CE companies should pay attention - women make a lot of buying decisions.

Motorola CLIQ Delights with Social Networking Capabilities

by Julie Ask

I had the opportunity to demo MOTOBLUR on the Motorola CLIQ last night. The device will be available later this year with T-Mobile. It’s been a while since I’ve demo’ed a phone and immediately wanted to take one home.

First, let me say, I was really impressed with the look of the UI. The presentation of the widgets and information had a bit of a whimsical feel to them that appealed to me. I didn’ t feel as if I were clicking my way through a grid or file format. The pop-up boxes were cute. The device allows you to put your most frequently contacts on the home screen as an icon with a small photo – I was really drawn to this feature. [Forrester has written some research on dynamic address books and friendly UI's within the context of mobile social networking. ]

Spent most of my time focused on the social networking aspects. There were a number of features I really liked.

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Apple's Impact on Mobile Entertainment

Apple's announcements yesterday were mostly focused on iTunes and adding a video camera to the Nano (beautiful device by the way - shape, colors, form factor, weight (lessness) - blew me away). There were a couple of interesting things that came out about the iPhone platform though.

A few of the facts:

30 million iPhones sold to date

20 million iPod Touch devices with about 225 million iPods sold to date in all with 50% to new customers (wow!)

1.8 billion downloads of more than 75,000 available applications

100 million billing relationships with credit cards ... this impresses me the most and is what I consider to be one of their important competitive advantages

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Made-up Mobile Ad Network Numbers - Why?

Saw this article today in moco ranking mobile ad networks in the US. They published these numbers, but don't stand behind them - at least entirely. I'm interested in digging a bit deeper into the UV calculation.

  1. Millennial Media: 45.6 million
  2. AOL/Platform-A's Third Screen Media: 28.6 million
  3. AdMob: 25.7 million
  4. Microsoft's MSN Ad Network: 25.4 million
  5. Jumptap: 23.4 million
  6. Quattro Wireless: 23 million

Yahoo! isn't mentioned. Google is not there - guess this doesn't include Search, but these online giants are popular at least with the consumers we survey. Oh, and no application networks or SMS. The article does back up Millennial's claim to reach. They'd have to be reaching just about every person who browses the mobile web in a given month - even those with one page view - to hit this published number. Aside from the rankings, good to see all of the networks doing so well. These numbers have been growing steadily over the past couple of years. With smartphones selling so well, usage of data services is growing. Forrester's data shows relatively few daily browsers outside of smartphone owners. Most of these ad networks show similar usage patterns. All of this traffic together Choosing ad networks isn't a topic I've researched yet. We do advocate though that brands find their customers, understand their mobile behaviors, and build a strategy from there. With the momentum in consumer adoption of mobile data services, it will soon be hard for any consumer or business-oriented brand to avoid the medium as a channel to engage with consumers for much longer.

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So... Why This Blog?

The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Forrester Research.

I started this blog because I am passionate about how technology - specifically wireless - can impact businesses and how they engage with their customers. I worked as a management consultant for a number of years before becoming a wireless industry analyst at Jupiter Research. At Jupiter, I found that I was spending a lot of time interpreting our technology (and in my case wireless) research for regular consumer product and service companies. I figured, "why not write mobile research directly for these non-telco companies," as I call them.

In 2006, I launched mobile marketing and media coverage at Jupiter. When Forrester Research acquired Jupiter Research in August 2008, I decided with my corporate transition to make a coverage transition as well. I wanted to expand upon this research I'd started at Jupiter and look at mobile strategies more broadly. I wanted to conduct research and advise our clients on how mobile can help them achieve a wide range of business objectives.

Every consumer product and services company should be considering how they will engage with their customers within the mobile environment. Many clients ask me, "How will I know when I should have a mobile presence?" I ask, "How did you know when you needed a Web presence? Was it when 5% of your customers were online? 10% Was it when your competitors had a website? When did you decide to add rich media to your website? What percentage of your customers was connecting via broadband?" I ask many of our clients this question. The answer with most is, "The decision was strategic. We knew we needed a web presence. We sensed that the Internet would be an important medium for us to engage with our customers." Mobile will be the same. A mobile presence isn't table stakes today, but it will be.

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Julie is currently employed by Forrester Research where she is a Vice President and Principal Analyst. Her area of expertise lies primarily in telecommunications and consumer mobility more specifically. She is leveraging this expertise along with her experience in management consulting and engineering to guide clients in the development, evaluation and execution of their mobile strategies. As cell phones evolve into the most ubiquitous device owned and used by consumers, consumer product and services companies will find engaging with their customers on these devices increasingly important. Julie's research and analysis have been widely cited in publications including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, RCR Wireless, The Onion and on PBS, NBC, and CBS.

Julie joined Forrester in July 2008 when they acquired JupiterResearch. Julie's experience in the telecommunications industry dates back 20 years with her first internship as a microwave circuit engineering intern at COMSAT Laboratories. She has since split her time as an engineer, management consultant, and analyst between Germany and the United States. Prior to joining JupiterResearch, Julie worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton where she worked with both automotive and telecommunications clients to drive product portfolio investment decisions, sourcing strategies, and broader strategic and business plan development. She also worked in business development for a wireless startup in San Francisco.

Julie holds a B.S.E.E. and a master of science in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also holds an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

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Do you have a touch-friendly web site?

Met with an interesting company yesterday - Taptu. They offer a mobile search service/technology. They recently launched their iPhone application. They are in the process of indexing "touch-friendly" media. They estimate that there are about 40,000 touch-friendly web sites of which they have indexed more than 3 million pages with a goal much higher than this for the end of the year. They estimate that about 30% of the top 100 web sites as measured by traffic are touch-friendly. It is an interesting idea given the number of touch-screen mobile devices being sold today. Is your web site touch friendly? mobile friendly?

Pizza Hut iPhone Application

I'm fascinated by this application on the iPhone. It is rich and entertaining. It makes ordering pizza fun. Includes a game. Includes coupons to motivate purchase - but they aren't pushed out via SMS to trigger the idea of pizza for lunch/dinner.

Is it more marketing or commerce?

The connected nature of the application allows for updates - to the menu (for the basic categories) and promotions. Look forward to seeing this evolve to the point where local restaurant managers can do their own local promotions even based on registered zip codes. I see location-based mobile advertising playing out along these lines nearer term than the auto-tagging of a user's location with an ad to quickly follow.

Would prefer not to have to sign up online. Mobile-only use cases with individuals are limited today, but I think they will grow in number. Cross-channel (Internet to mobile and vice versa) is an interesting idea, but it isn't clear that it is needed or wanted - especially on platforms as capable as the higher end devices like an iPhone or Blackberry, Symbian, Palm etc. devices.  -


Why bother with mobile if the experience is going to be so bad?

I was just looking at a receipt in an email update from B&H Photo in New York. They encouraged me to get an update of my order's status on my cell phone. So, I typed in a long order number and sent the message off to the short code 22634.

I received an SMS back with my order number and a tracking number. The order number was "live" so to speak - I clicked on it and it tried to iniative a phone call. Stupid. The order number wasn't a link to ANYTHING?!?!?!!? Not a quick link to FedEx or UPS. Simply a number. I guess when I can copy/paste on my iPhone in another few weeks, this could prove to be useful information.

In any case, "tracking number" DOES NOT EQUAL "status update." What a terrible user experience and a missed opportunity. Maybe they'll say that they are only part way through the integration into their back end systems, but really, this was lame.