Discrepant Numbers Among Wireless Researchers

  • by February 28, 2001
A new eMarketer report reveals that projections for wireless Internet subscribers and m-commerce revenues from various research firms are so disparate, that it is virtually impossible to offer an informed projection for future usage.

The eWireless Report, released today by eMarketer, cites data from more than 100 research organizations and consultancies, offering examples of the gap in projections for a technology that does not yet exist.

"Researchers are pulling their numbers out of thin air based on hot air," asserts Paul Mulligan, wireless analyst for eMarketer. "We once looked suspiciously at Internet usage projections, but at least those projections began from a basis of Internet usage at that time," he said. "Now, we have researchers projecting usage numbers for things that don't even exist yet-like 3G services. They might as well be telling us how many people will drive wheel-less cars in 2007."

According to the eWireless Report, the exact number of US citizens using wireless Internet services today is still very much an unknown. Even the Wireless Data Forum in the nation's capital admits that only rough counts are currently available. Still, analysts have come up with some very different numbers covering the next four years.

Estimates also vary widely on the total value of wireless advertising spending in the United States.

For example, when it comes to mobile Internet use, ResearchPortal reported the number of mobile Internet users reached approximately 95 million in 2000, with nearly 80% from the Asia/Pacific Rim and North American regions. By 2005, Ovum Research predicts that number to reach 484 million.

In the mCommerce sector, of the $22.2 billion in worldwide m-commerce revenues forecast for 2005, Jupiter predicts that $10.8 billion will derive from shopping, $8 billion from paid content and $3.3 billion from advertising.

In finance, Celent Communications predicts that 150 million people will use global wireless financial services by 2004, compared to 10 million in 2000. ARC Group forecasts that wireless-banking users will grow to 331 million by 2004.

And notably, advertisers using mobile and wireless devices face a variety of obstacles. In 2000, $13 million was spent globally on mobile advertising while in 2005, forecasts call for $16.4 billion to be spent on this sector.

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