RealTime IT News

WirelessWatch for August 29, 2003

Vindigo City Guides on Sprint

Mobile publisher Vindigo Studios is launching its popular Vindigo city guide on Sprint's PCS Vision service. PCS Vision customers can use their phones to access urban entertainment options, including restaurant reviews, movie reviews and show times, shopping, and museum exhibits.

Everyday services, such as the locations of nearby ATMs, post offices, gas stations, and copy shops, are also available. The service integrates full-color maps and driving directions with this local information.

"Vindigo city guide gives PCS Vision customers an easy-to-use, personal entertainment and lifestyle guide that's accessible anytime, anywhere on the Sprint network," said Jason Devitt, CEO of Vindigo Studios.

Latin American Mobile Use on Rise

The Yankee Group forecasts the total number of mobile users in Latin America will grow from nearly 104 million in 2002 to 154 million in 2007, an eight percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Consequently, handset sales are expected to increase as well, reaching annual sales of 22 million new units by the end of 2003.The research firm expects annual sales will vary from 19 million to 22 million new units from 2004 until 2006.

In 2002, the Latin American market represented 5 percent of handset sales worldwide, with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia accounting for 72 percent of the market.

Despite handset sales volume, Argentina's subscriber base is being negatively impacted by economic crises and bad debt, as is Venezuela's. The subscriber base in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia continues to grow.

Comparatively, the U.S. will be home to 151.4 million mobile phone subscribers by the end of 2003, according to data compiled by eMarketer, adding another 2.2 million to the current total, as counted by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.

-- by Robyn Greenspan, originally published on CyberAtlas.com.

SMS Short Codes Grow Despite Weak Demand

Jupiter Research, which shares a parent corporation with this site, says while standardization of SMS short codes among U.S. carriers is nearly complete, adoption of SMS in the U.S. significantly trails Europe and Asia and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately for would-be SMS marketers, this type of interactivity is not highly valued by U.S. consumers. In a recent survey, Jupiter Research asked consumers to indicate their interest in various forms of wireless communication. Using SMS to participate in TV promotions and sweepstakes as well as other automated SMS services ranked low with online consumers, ages 35 and over. Consumers ages 18 to 34 had only moderate interest in these activities.

Additionally, cross-carrier short codes are not really cross-carrier. AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, and Cingular are ready, and Verizon will be up shortly. However, Sprint phones create WAP-based short mail, not SMS. On-air promotions will not list compatible carriers. Therefore, when Sprint's 18.8 million customers send messages using a short code, they will either get a cryptic error message or no response at all.

For more breaking news in the wireless marketing space, visit WirelessAdWatch.com