The 3G Economy
By The End Of 2007, There Will Be 200 Million 3g Phones Worldwide, Creating Rich New Opportunities For Startups And Established Players Alike. Here Are Four Potentially Hot Sectors.
By Om Malik

(Business 2.0) – Apps

OPPORTUNITY: Web surfing, instant messaging, and other tasks will migrate to high-speed phones, requiring scads of new software. PLAYER TO WATCH: Norway's Opera Software leads the cell-phone browser market, thanks to deals with handset makers like Nokia and Sony Ericsson. CONTENDERS: Agile, Profimail ESTIMATED MARKET SIZE, 2007: $1 billion

Games

OPPORTUNITY: Millions of people will use phones with high-speed connections and 3-D graphics as game consoles. PLAYER TO WATCH: Mforma, based in Kirkland, Wash., already provides games and content to more than 100 carriers worldwide and has attracted $63 million in venture capital to fund its expansion. CONTENDERS: Digital Chocolate, Jamdat, Sorrent ESTIMATED MARKET SIZE, 2007: $7.4 billion

Music

OPPORTUNITY: High-speed 3G connections will spur consumers to download and listen to music on cell phones rather than iPods, radios, or other portable devices. PLAYER TO WATCH: Musiwave, a French startup, delivers tunes from publishers EMI and SonyBMG; through carriers like Vodafone, Musiwave allows users to download full songs with hi-fi sound quality. CONTENDERS: Melodeo, Sony StreamMan ESTIMATED MARKET SIZE, 2007: $1.7 billion

Video

OPPORTUNITY: Mobile video is a potential killer app for 3G networks. In Japan, mobile video is now widespread; the rest of the world won't be far behind. PLAYER TO WATCH: Mobliss, based in Seattle, just launched Thumbdance, a wireless video channel that broadcasts animated shorts and other content. CONTENDERS: Idetic, Qualcomm MediaFlo ESTIMATED MARKET SIZE, 2007: $800 million

Sources: ARC Group; Strategy Analytics; ThinkEquity