Carriers Want a Share

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-09-17 Print this article Print

More recently, (Major League Baseball) has begun pushing wireless content. But unlike NASCAR, which focused on a single carrier partner in Nextel, is courting multiple carriers.

Such services mimic what began with financial services and the pushing of stock trade information wirelessly. Stock trade subscriptions succeeded as a text-based service. Today, Zawel said, color screens, faster networks and more capable devices have opened the door to similar offerings from the entertainment industry., Zawel said, "is treating it as a new line of business."

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Organizations such as NASCAR and MLB are testing wireless as a new channel through which they can provide entertainment and related offerings to fans, including downloadable ring tones and wall paper. is using video in a partnership with Nokia, which is preinstalling an icon on its 6600-series phones that opens to a menu of offerings that range from free, text-based reports on scores and standings to a $7.99 video-download service. But the service fees may be only the smallest element in the profit motive here.

In a recent report, Zawel noted that carriers want a part of the retail action. They are not in the business simply for the nickel they receive in transport fees from a $2.49 screen saver.

"As a retailer, carriers can promise to place content within their portals," he said. "The co-marketing option, which has been under exploited by carriers, is probably the most attractive element of a tighter relationship with an organization like

"Theres big, big money still flowing from the wireless industry to the media and entertainment industries," Zawel said.

And NASCAR profits from Nextels advertising and sponsorships. "Some of the carriers will advertise during baseball games or on the Disney channel. A lot of these deals are two-way. Theres a lot of co-marketing going on," Zawell said.

"Certainly, its in the carriers interest to advertise this stuff. They need wireless data to save their business model," he said.

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Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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