A Utopian view of smart phones

Mobile handset users may be surfing the ‘Net now, but they’d be surfing a lot more if carriers offered better rate plans and services, according to a report from the Yankee Group.

The Boston-based market research firm announced this week a report – titled Mobile Internet Utopia: Imagine is Supply could Satisfy Demand” – stating wireless operators could make at least US$66 billion in revenues from Internet access alone if they included accessible, easy-to-use services with flat-rate plans.

However, revenues are actually only US$9.5 billion a year, and many users are reluctant to use wireless devices to surf the ‘Net because the devices themselves (or the data cards) are too expensive, some networks are unreliable or too slow, and the devices do not display content well.

This does not mean smart phones are not selling well. In fact, another market research firm, In-Stat, predicts Smartphone operating system sales worldwide (other than Palm) will grow by more than 30 per cent per year for the next five years. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based In-Stat also reports manufacturers are selling more smart phones than laptop PCs.