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Mobile Content in Post-Carrier Era

I suppose I'm not done ranting about mobile content and the [Nokia news](http://blog.internetnews.com/csaunders/2008/02/nokia-mobile-content-and-the-e.html). I've deliberately not mentioned the obvious: Nokia is not a carrier.

With Ovi, Nokia is competing with the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft -- technology players making inroads into an arena long dominated by carriers, with their mobile portals. (I use "dominated" loosely here -- the space is still nascent and subject to dramatic change.)

The burgeoning success of these tech companies shows that we may be approaching some sort of post-carrier period, where content and services are delivered primarily through handset makers (like Nokia) and traditionally Web-based content players (Google, for instance, which has gone to great efforts to make its content accessible [to a wide variety of mobile users](/ent-news/article.php/3714931).)

Nokia, I should also mention, may yet get creamed in the U.S. by the usual gang of Internet giants. Even if this is the case, it's Google, Apple, Microsoft and the like that will still lead mobile content; not carriers.

So where are carriers in all this? They're still (as ever) obsessively focused on subscriber churn, but they've also yet to connect all the dots in earnest: Compelling mobile content can serve as a major driver for subscribers while driving additional revenue through ads and fees. That should be all the more critical in today's era of (largely) commoditized wireless service.

Perhaps carriers have some grandiose plan for the [coveted 700MHz FCC spectrum](/wireless/article.php/3725606) that involves rolling out rich mobile content and services. But somehow, I doubt it -- considering that they've done so little with the spectrum that they already have.

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