Presence-enabled communities will be the “primary market driver” behind mobile demand for Web 2.0 applications and services that will generate $18.9 billion in 2014, according to figures released this morning from Juniper Research. Carriers will have a chance to tap into that market if they can effectively evolve beyond their traditional role as network operators.
As loosely defined by Juniper, mobile Web 2.0 features the web as a platform for applications and the user as both creator and consumer of content. That broad definition includes offerings such as mobile Skype as well as basic chat services, social networks and location-aware services such as Foursquare and Gowalla that feature community. A combination of ads, data charges and premium services will be among the key revenue streams, Juniper said.
The market for mobile Web 2.0 is one that AT&T is trying to tap with Buzz.com, a new, Yelp-like social recommendations site that will likely embrace presence management as it matures. (The offering, which is aimed at helping users find the right local business based on reviews from friends and family, launched in January and is in closed alpha.) The problem for operators, though, will be in getting their apps in the hands of users on other networks. That’s an entirely new strategy for carriers, which have long deployed products and services solely to attract new subscribers and hold on to the customers they already have. If AT&T or any of its competitors can make a go of it, they could tap an entirely new business model beyond merely being mobile network operators.
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