Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Tag

Cell Phone Service Brought to You By…

It seems like advertising can pay for anything nowadays. We have free newspapers, free TV programs, free web services: all in exchange for an inundation of consumerism thrown at us from every angle. A few years ago the idea of a project on the web being able to support bandwidth for hundreds of thousands of 200+ MB each, HD video downloads seemed absurd, but thanks to some well placed advertising from domain registrars and liquor brands, video podcast Diggnation is doing just that.

We’ve even see ad-supported service provider models spring up (but not survive) like NetZero for free Internet access. So what industry might be next to give consumers free service thanks to advertising exposure? Stowe Boyd of /Message suggests it could be the cell phone industry.

In his post Boyd points out that ad-supported cellular content is already on the way in the United States, starting with MySpace as the first major site to offer such a model. Blyk will offer free, ad-supported mobile phone connection in the U.K. Is the U.S. next?

Unlike the U.K., which is currently beyond 100 percent mobile penetration — despite how little sense that makes (are people buying multiple cell contracts for themselves?) — the U.S. stands at 84 percent, says MocoNews. A free cellular provider might be exactly what the cell industry needs to gobble up the last bit of the U.S. population resisting the mobile market.

Google WiFi, free wireless Internet access for residents of Mountain View, Calif., is a good example of what we might see in ad-supported service providers. While Google WiFi doesn’t currently show ads, the model (especially when run by a technology advertising firm) is certainly there. I think we’ll be seeing big things in the next couple years in terms of ad-supported services.

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Google Maps mash-up: Social Cell Coverage

Sure, you can get a service coverage map from the website or storefronts of any cellular providers. But how accurate are they? They don’t tell you that most people in a certain area can’t get service in their houses. Or that you can’t make calls on the subway.

The mash-up would be built on the Google Maps API, and allow anyone to submit a review of their mobile phone provider, marking a rating out of five, with notes like “no service in house.” Each point would be marked on the map, and ratings would be automatically averaged for a certain view area to see how a town’s coverage is overall.