Yesterday, Cingular (soon to become AT&T wireless, again), the largest U.S. wireless carrier, announced it would launch a new video service for a couple of new phones. For a flat fee of $20 per month consumers can access clips from a range of content providers including Fox, NBC and others. The service assumes Cingular’s high-speed network, currently operating in many major U.S. cities.
Data services, including music and video, are seen as a growth area for wireless carriers that face the "commoditization" of their voice businesses. Yet, according to a recent RBC Capital Markets survey of 1,000 U.S. mobile phone users, solid majorities don’t want music or video on their phones and, perhaps even more disturbing for the industry, more than 40 percent said they would pay for phones that prevented advertising/marketing.
This is just one study and there are competing data in the market. It’s also the case that the younger the audience the more receptive to data services. But the survey illustrates that wireless carriers may be betting on segments that will take years to develop or not develop at all.