Tomi Ahonen is one of those in the opposite camp who believe (like me) that the mobile internet is absolutely going to happen. The best content will also migrate to the mobile phone-based internet because the money is there. It is very difficult and clumsy to charge for content on the traditional internet. You need Paypals or credit cards or other work-arounds. But every mobile phone can handle payment directly, at a click. In fact mobile phones, through premium-SMS payment, are already used in various internet applications to gain access to micropayments.
In another post, he elaborated:
The mobile phone can replicate all services that the traditional PC based internet can do. Yes, the screen is smaller, but that is no absolute obstacle. But everything else we had on the web, including its interactivity, is also available on the mobile phone.
But an internet on the mobile phone delivers four elements that don’t exist on the fixed internet. First of all, a mobile phone based internet is totally personalized. Our PC is often shared – such as a university campus computer, or a family computer, or the PC owned by the employer with its limitations and at times access by the IT department etc. But our mobile phone is totally personal.
Secondly the mobile phone is always on. It means that any alerts, urgent news etc can be delivered. With laptops we need to find our access, connect to a WiFi etc network, but mobile phones are always connected and can for example be reached via SMS text messaging for alerts at any time.
Thirdly the mobile phone is always within hand’s reach of its users. No other technology is so close to us physically at all times. We don’t take our computers to bed with us (well, most don’t do that), but over 60% of all mobile phone users take their cellphone physically to bed with them at night. We notice we’ve lost our wallet in 26 hours. But we notice we’re missing our mobile phone in 68 minutes.
Finally – and most importantly – the mobile phone offers a built-in payment mechanism. The PC based internet does not have that. On the traditional internet we need to set up a payment system like Paypal, or we need to submit credit card info etc. But on the mobile phone we can (if our carrier/operator has enabled it) handle any payments at the click of a button.
There are three times as many mobile phones as PCs. Twice as many people use SMS text messaging as use e-mail. Users on the traditional PC based internet expect content to be free, but mobile phone users expect mobile content to be paid-for. Collecting money on the traditional fixed wireline internet is very cumbersome. Collecting money on the mobile internet is built-in. The world’s biggest internet company by revenues is not one of the internet darlings – Google, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon or AOL. It is Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo’s domestic mobile internet arm, i-Mode. And i-Mode alone makes bigger profits than the five internet darlings combined. Where will you put your best content? On the mobile internet of course.
Tomorrow: Views (continued)