Discussion Papers

Peter Stamm, Martin Wörter

Mobile Portale: Merkmale, Marktstruktur und Unternehmensstrategien
Nr. 244 / Juli 2003


Mobile portals offer orientation in the mobile data world and allow fast and easy access to new mobile multimedia services. The increasing supply and use of mobile data services raises their importance. Particularly mobile portals with context-oriented services for the mobile usage are expected to be successful. Users’ attention is attracted by well established mobile portals, as mobile devices like mobile phones or PDAs are personal companions. Network operators, hardware and content suppliers as well as other players are trying hard to establish their mobile portals in order to get this precious attention and to make use of it for their own services and contents.

During the last years numerous attempts have been undertaken to establish mobile portals, but for the most part they were unsuccessful. Consolidations are generally not unusual in early market phases. But the mobile portal players were also confronted with very unfavourable attendant circumstances. Among those were technical problems with WAP services, delays of UMTS network launches as well as the unfortunate situation of the capital markets. In addition, many suppliers did not pay enough attention to the special economics of mobile portals. Due to the dominance of fixed costs and to the network- and lock-in-effects, it is necessary to gain a large amount of users within short time to generate turnover with paid premium services.

In the long run, only a small number of widely positioned general interest portals will dominate the market. In addition to these, a bigger number of special interest portals will serve differentiated niche markets. Success factors of mobile portals are mainly the portal operator’s reputation, the quality of services and contents, the portal’s openness and options to personalise the portal. For mobile portal operators it will be of high importance to co-operate with other players along the mobile value chain and to agree about revenue sharing models on the supply side. Popular brands can be useful for gaining high market share more quickly.

Analyse has shown that the best starting position on the mobile portal market is owned by the mobile network operators. By selling subsidised mobile devices they are able to integrate their portals into the devices’ software. In addition, network operators control the network systems and own the resources for micro payment of premium services. By utilizing their customer data and the location information, they can offer very userspecific services. The international activities of some of the mobile network operators enables them also to realise economies of scale and to offer international access to their mobile portals. [full version only available in German]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

To top  |  Print