inCode Predicts Rise of Mobile Social Networking, Ads, & GPS in 2007 + My Predictions for 2008

January 26, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media

Yesterday, inCode Telecom Group Inc. announced its “Top 10 Global Wireless Predictions for 2007”.  Topping the list as the number one trend for wireless operators in 1007 is Social Networking:

Social Networking Gets Mobilized. Mobility is added to existing Internet business models, services and behaviors, driving traffic for wireless operators. Teens and twenties accustomed to constant connectivity and habit-forming Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, lead a wave of membership in mobile social networks. Location social networking including friend and event finder services gain popularity, even in the professional and over-50 segments. Google, Yahoo and Skype are more compelling for users than wireless brands, which are hard-pressed to compete. As customer appetites for social data and video services spike, wireless operators offer more “all you can eat” pricing for high-end data packages. Social networking applications initially are preloaded on many mobile devices sold and later become downloadable.”

On the handset side, inCode predicts that in 2007, “Multi-Function Devices [will] Become Cheaper and More Versatile”.  This includes the introduction of video-capable devices to the masses.  They also predict that location-based services (LBS) and GPS will become mainstream.  According to the article:

GPS is the location technology of choice for the wireless industry. Handset manufacturers continue to push GPS-enabled handsets as the technology evolves from popular in-car satellite navigation systems like TomTom to a broadly accepted feature in wireless phones. With Nokia having launched its first GPS-enabled handsets in early 2007 and bandwidth available to support new multimedia services, location-based service providers build critical mass. Since there are 10 to 20 times more mobile phones sold than any other consumer electronics device, wireless is a huge driver for GPS adoption. That’s great for users and handset vendors, but the benefit to operators isn’t clear.

Another of inCode’s predictions is that “Mobile Advertising Breaks Loose:”

Major brands shift from basic SMS marketing to more sophisticated multimedia advertising. RBC Capital Markets expects mobile marketing revenues to balloon from $45 million in 2005 to $1.5 billion by 2010. With the technological ability to target and measure the effectiveness of mobile advertising, brands are more strategic in their approach. Operators under increasing price pressure set limits on current handset subsidization. Brands take up the slack, subsidize handsets and services for target demographics and take direct ownership of marketing channels. Rich 3G content and video services and accuracy advancements in GPS-based location services deliver further value to brands targeting existing and potential customers in innovative ways.”

This prediction, is already starting to come true, with MVNOs like Virgin Mobile USA and Amp’d Mobile planning to offer discounts to customers for viewing advertisements on their mobile phones.  Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel have also said they’re going to test the concept of mobile advertising.  And, according to CNET, mobile advertising services company, Millennial Media, which was founded by Paul Palmieri, a former Verizon executive recently received $6.3 million in Series A funding.

inCode is on the money with their predictions for 2007.  Tying together the above predictions for 2007 and thinking about the future, I predict that in 2008, mobile operators will further realize the power of social media – extending beyond simply social networking to all forms of social media.  If all goes as I predict, in 2008, Mobile Operators, MVNOs, OEMs, and ISVs will harness the power of social networking, GPS (LBS), and multi-function handsets and incorporate the power of social media, adding applications and web-based services to handsets that add value to consumers.  Services/ applications like Helio’s Buddy Beacon, Dodgeball, etc. will increase.  I predict that large mobile operators and OEMs will begin to pre-load devices with social networking-focused applications that incorporate GPS.  I also believe that mobile advertising will increase and that the value of GPS to mobile operators will be realized in the ability to either charge for LBS social networking services and/or offer interactive mobile advertising via these LBS-enabled social networking applications.

Collaborative and community-based entertainment like YouTube on the go will evolve and continue to be popular.  I also expect that sites that monetize video footage (of, say, news events) that users take on their mobile phones will become increasingly popular….Think sites like:,, and

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) will also play a big role in mobile social networking AND mobile advertising in 2008.  Though, I expect to see real advances in and popularization of this area happening towards the end of the year and into 2009, once mobile GPS and mobile advertising are better established.  I see this happening in several ways:

  • When users search for friends, that mobile advertising will be well integrated so that suitable meeting locations and activities will be suggested (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, stuff to do, sites to see, etc.)
  • Based upon users mobile searches, social networking behavior, and text written in the emails they send via mobile phones, mobile LBS and mobile ads will generate new advertising content.

These are my initial thoughts for 2008, and all of them are predicated on inCode’s predictions for 2008 coming true.  If you’ve got any additional predictions for 2008 and beyond, post a comment!

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  • “wireless is a huge driver for GPS adoption. That’s great for users and handset vendors, but the benefit to operators isn’t clear.”

    Much like the music industry being outpaced by 'downloadable,' the operators are going to find that their exclusive link to the customer is going to evaporate.

    The customer wants control over their media.

  • [this is good]
    Another great post, Lisa 🙂



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