Yahoo’s Baby Steps to Phone 2.0

Champions of a more open Internet could take a small bit of cheer from Yahoo’s plans, unveiled today, to open up its mobile platform to third-party developers. But the lack of a service-provider partner to endorse the idea is one clear sign that chief Yahoo Jerry Yang and all the other exclamation-pointers have a long way to go before they can expect to have a major impact on the growing market of the mobile web.
To be sure, plans like Yahoo’s Go or Google’s Android, which aim to bring the power of the open Internet to your handheld device, seem a preferable future than locked-in services like Verizon’s VCast. But without a service-provider partner to watch its back, Yahoo (YHOO) seems unable to answer a big looming question for open-Internet apps accessed via a cellular phone: How fast will the app perform, and how much will it cost to download the data?
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CTIA 2007: How far behind is the U.S. vs. Europe?

[qi:83] This week, San Francisco will play host to the CTIA’s Wireless I.T. & Entertainment convention, an annual gathering of those intimately involved with the U.S. mobile industry — from tiny startups to corporate giants such as Verizon (VZ), Qualcomm (QCOM), Nokia (NOK) and AT&T (T).

Many will talk about their vision of the future, and at some point will undoubtedly lament over how far we lag behind Europe. With the help of analyst Chetan Sharma, I decided to pull together a small comparison chart that gives you a sense of what’s fact and what’s fiction.


I would like to point out that the above numbers are subscriptions and not the actual number of subscribers — often a point of contention. It’s also worth nothing that a lot of folks in Europe are pre-paid customers and that people have a habit of carrying more than one SIM card. Lastly, the comparison between the U.S. and Western Europe is going to get more interesting once we have complete information for 2007.

Update: As many of you have noted in comments, subscribers in Europe do not pay for incoming calls. However, the carriers do collect incoming calls revenue form other carriers through settlement procedure. The ARPU calculations include total revenue (subs + settlement) divided by subs. The US settlement regime is based on bill and keep (subs pays for both) and no carrier settlements for incoming calls. Hope this helps!