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« Nothing like a little bit of advocacy | Main | Why is mobile social networking worth $3.45b? »

October 24, 2006


William Volk

Thank you for mentioning MyNuMo. I would add that in addition to mobile ringtones, wallpapers, and videos we will be adding user generated text services.

In terms of going beyond Mobile, we will be launching a ringback service with AOL's AIM Phoneline (VOIP) system this year.

William Volk

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi William

The funny thing is that I have discussed MyNuMo many times - and written about it for example at Forum Oxford, that somehow I've managed to miss blogging about it here at our blogsite??? I wanted to include a link to a previous posting and by searching the blogsite, didn't find a mention of MyNuMo. I do remember celebrating with you when you launched at Forum Oxford for example. But yes, obviously, good to have you here, thanks for commenting, and keep us informed of what all you add to your service.

Tomi :-)

David Cushman

Brilliant Tomi - more great ammunition to use. My fear at the moment is that many media firms put this kind of thinking and development to one side - in a bit of a Ghetto - rather than placing it at the heart of their strategic thinking. It's a repeat of the errors made by media firms at the infancy of the internet.

alan moore


You are so right

Thanks for posting


Leonard Low

I'm definitely interested in the potential of mobile technologies to be used as a social networking tool - coincidentally, I just finished writing an extensive article on exactly that topic (with respect to the particular field of education)... you can see a small part of my research on mobile technology and social networking ("mobile ecologies") on my blog, here:

One aspect of mobile communities that you don't cover in as much detail in your post is the idea of integration; integration between mobile users, and web-based sources of content and functionality (e.g. Web 2.0 applications integrated with mobile), and integration between mobile users and the "real world" using proximity technologies like RFID, 2D Barcodes, and Bluetooth.

With regards to the former - data connectivity on 3G devices will lead to web-based mobile-access data services being every bit as important as actual living people for defining and maintaining our communities. With regards to the latter: proximity technologies like 2D Barcodes (see here for more info: are already massively deployed in Japan, where they form a digital bond between real world social opportunities and mobile users; as well as between mobile users (since they can be generated on, and read from, mobile phones to pass information between devices).

I think we're going to see an explosion of opportunities to interact with the "real world" and the "online world" using our mobile phones, in the same way that we now use SMS to enter competitions - just the tip of the iceberg!

Thanks for your engaging and well informed article!


Ben Averch

Fascinating discussion. My company, Microvision, is developing a see-through, wireless Color Eyewear display that includes a high-resolution display in the form-factor of a pair of cool sunglasses.

I see a huge opportunity for this Color Eyewear platform to deliver the type of real-world/mobile phone integrated augmented reality services as described by Leonard Low, as well as to enable mobile social networks, such as:

Pop-up information about proximity to 'friends',
Pop-up text messages,
Next generation location-based services,
Massively multiplayer augmented reality games where 'the game' is superimposed on your field of view outside in the world, among limitless possiblities.

Microvision is also bringing to market an embedded laser projector for cell phones called 'PicoP' that is intended to bring the big experience of traditional TV to the mobile phone -- enabling sharing of mobile media, content and applications in a way that's not possible with traditional phones with small LCD screens.


Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Leonard and Ben

Leonard, very good observations, and we totally agree with you. My blog(s) were too long to begin with (and as hard it is to believe, these are the edited-down versions, ha-ha). I really didn't want to toss more into it.

I especially believe in the two-dimensional bar codes - I am regularly in Japan and Korea and these are very big there already. For those readers who don't know what a 2D barcode looks like, its a small rectangle, which looks almost like a fingerprint, with fuzzy dots and lines in it. The cameraphone (with the right software) can read it, like a laser readig a traditional line-based bar code. In Japan for example most business cards now feature the 2D bar code. They are absolutely everywhere from magazine ads to billboards at bus stops. For more info, point your cameraphone here...

Ben - what a cool technology! Wow. Very nice. I stopped by at your blogsite (thanks for the mention). But yes, I am sure your company will do cool stuff in this space. Please let Alan and me know when you launch new stuff, we'll be very happy to cover it and try to get you some more publicity...

Thanks for visiting our blog and posting comments

Tomi :-)

Leonard Low

If you're a believer in 2D barcodes, you will like the latest news. Just today, Microsoft launched Windows Live Barcode, in Beta, at

Ihave written up an article on the launch and the potential here:

I am also going to be blogging Ben's company, I think - I see loads of potential for that kind of technology to impact on education!!!! Check out my post for the kind of thing that might be possible with Ben's company's technology, integrated with 2D barcodes! :)

Leonard Low

Sigh... looks like the comment editor cut the end off that URL... you might have to go to to see that article. :(

Paul Jardine

Mobile Social Networking a killer app!? Definitely. The saviour of 3G, probably not.
The point we agree on is that social networking is going mobile, the difference is that it won't necessarily be on 3G networks, unless your definition of that includes WiFi and WiMax.
I don't think the mobile operators will move quickly enough to tie up the market. There are already a lot of these tools in existence, such as mxit ( from South Africa and several others. All they require is a reasonably priced data plan and a non-walled garden approach (ok, not so simple).
The idea that every transaction will be billable (in the way SMS is) by the mobile operators, just isn't going to happen.
My strong belief is that the operators are losing their power and the handset manufacturers are gaining power. I see a more likely future of a handset being bundled with software applications made by Google, Yahoo, MS, or another internet player, and with access to one or more networks bundled in the price (e.g. Sony Mylo with 6 months T-Mobile access).
This relegates the operator (rightly in my opinion) to an access provider (they don't even need to provide typical ISP services), and the only pricing they will have control over is price/bit, and that at a wholesale level!
Vodafone (and the rest) have started to get more interested in distribution, as a way to still have some leverage over the handset manufacturers, but it's probably too little, too late.
I'm out in Thailand, so I'm not sure if my experience with the networks is similar in the UK, but the one thing that surprises me is how slowly WiFi is spreading. There is pitifully low level of coverage in Thailand, and too many suppliers with too many authentication systems (therein lies an opportunity for the mobile operators!)
Once again, I agree, but I have to disagree...

Simon Torrance

Tomi - loved your piece - really inspirational (along the lines of the 'energiser' you gave at the end of our Telco 2.0 event a few weeks ago).

I think Paul Jardine raises the critical question: the opportunity for operators is there, but will they take it? or will others?

I'd love to have you come and debate this topic at the next Telco 2.0 'Industry Brainstorm' - 27-29 March, London. I'll get in touch directly.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Paul and Simon

Paul - good point. Very good point. If we take it as a given, that the internet-style social networking (MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) will migrate to "phones" - this is by no means a guarantee that the 3G operators can hold onto that opportunity. If Bluetooth already is a huge app in many parts of the Middle East for example, and obviously WiFi in America, how about the next generation unlicensed spectrum wireless, when we get WiMax etc.

Very good point. And I am not going to suggest 3G and the mobile operators can fully hold this market. And for some clever players, this is a new opportunity for sure.

But lets also remember what I said - I said this is the first killer application for 3G. A killer app is not the same as a cash cow. We can easily have a killer app that doesn't deliver much revenues, but is still the reason for purchasing a given technology (or service). For example - internet access is the current home-user killer app for buying a PC (earlier business killer apps were word processing and spreadsheets in the first PC invasion of the office in the 1980s). The internet access software is usually bundled and "free" - like Microsoft Explorer - or else you can download free browser software from the web. The modem is a trivial cost to the total cost of the PC. So the internet software+hardware is not a meaningful cost element - and does not deliver meaningful revenues - into the purchase of a PC. Yet it is a killer application.

So lets not confuse mobile social networking, the 3G killer application, as any cash cow - it does not have to "save" the business of 3G, all it has to do is to drive the adoption of 3G. I am certain that into the next 10 years, basic voice and SMS text messaging (and its evolution) and other person-to-person communication (eg videocalls, MMS messages etc) will bring more revenues to 3G operators, than social networking.

But today, if you ask a teenager, do they need this kind of phone, I think most will still prioritize a good camera and a good music player. But soon when their MySpace etc experience migrates to the phone, they will demand the 3G speeds (or faster) and good integration with their fave social networking service.

Does this make sense? I hope it does (its late, and a Friday, ha-ha)

Simon - nice to see you here. And thanks for the kind words. I'll get back to you via e-mail.

Thanks for stopping by !

Tomi :-)

Nigel Redfearn

3G - Mobile Communities - Killer Application

The opportunity is a now clear, thanks to visionaries like Tomi, the secret to success is back to basics, what application and what is the Unique Selling Proposition. We are a South African based WASP, yes believe it or not we Africans are in touch with technology. Our continent doesn't have a copper legacy and mobile, or as us South African's call it Cellular is our prefered form of communications. We would like to initiate dialogue (blogging) on how we can apply 3G technology and services to a country like South Africa If you have any ideas that you might want share about social upliftment and community development that can be achieved through Mobile Communities, lets collaborate. Our telecommunications infrastructure also provides an opportunity for transactional mobile applications. An area we are focusing is on is Student Communities.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Nigel

Thanks for stopping by at the blog. I'm actually returning to South Africa (Johannesburg, I think mid-August, a MarcusEvans conference) and it could be useful to meet up.

I think you're in a very exciting area if you focus on student communities, as that is the time a young adult starts to become independent. If you focus very precisely on their needs and serve them well, you have very powerful customer experience and potentially good opportunity to build innovative services and make money in the process.

I'd love to discuss more (offline), but please in the meanwhile google our site for "SubTV" and do go to the podcast and listen to Alan interviewing Peter Miles the CEO of SubTV - SubTV (and their mobile arm dot-mobi) are focusing on the UK university student population and their screens can reach something like 90% of British university students in their student bars, pubs, dorms etc. SubTV insights are very good on what the youth want today

Thanks for stopping by

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Brian Fowler

Just thought I’d point-out that has it’s own mobile social network as well:

Mobile Content

nonews is good news!!! nice site


WHy not use peekamo? the nonews site actually looks nice but im a firm peekamo user. the social community is pretty cool (because of the features). the texting is all free too. whatever i seem like a spammer but take it for what it is. have fun in South Africa Tomi!


in addition to what james said, peekamo is taking off.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Brian, James and Kenny

Thank you. We'll take a look at them

Tomi Ahonen :-)


This has really been an eye- opener.I don’t know how big the mobile networking communites were till I ran a mobile campaign for my band on Mozes ( There was a huge response for my band. I was stunned and surprised as to how these communities drive the market…literally I think. I am a fan of mobile marketing now 

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