Future of 3G Bleak DownUnder

Despite all the buzz around 3G Wireless, a research note from the Australian Parliament paints a rather bleak and dismal future for 3G services and the entire mobile sector. The note warns that four of the major wireless players including Vodafone will have to first recover their $1.17 billion investment in spectrum, before they can even start thinking about their mega-billion dollar capital expenditures. There are only 500,000 3G users in that country. As the carriers push 3G, they are also at the risk of cannibalizing their 2G services which for now are footing the bill for everything. The researchers note that instead of fancy services like DVB-H, aka Mobile TV, the future of 3G might be in simpler more easier services. Like GPS, photo taking, stereo sound and music. “Cheaper alternatives such as free Internet, for real time or deferred content downloads, may challenge the use of 3G by consumers,” they say. How does this correlate to US? I think we are going to follow the same patterns here in the US as well. I think the $25 unlimited high-speed access on our phones will be enough for carriers to boost their ARPU from around $50 a month to $75 a month. After that it will be simpler services like photo blogs, GPS, and SMS-based search that will drive incremental dollars. Multimedia content on the phone is far from a slam-dunk. What do you think?

Link: Australian Parliament Research Note. via Resource Shelf.

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