Chapter 3

Mobile at the Start of the Millennium

At the turn of the twenty-first century, mobile had gained traction in some areas of the world and wasn’t even on call to be a communications device or eventually a mini-computer and entertainment option in others. Those marketers who noticed the increase in wireless usage mostly treaded lightly when it came to the notion of trying to marry a brand’s business goals with mobile, which unbeknownst to many of them would soon become a consumer’s most personal and often treasured device.

According to CTIA–The Wireless Association, there were nearly 110 million mobile subscribers in the United States alone by the end of 2000. Although that number was impressive for the day, it was dwarfed by wireless adoption in other parts of the world, especially Japan and Korea and in parts of Europe where it came to be that figuratively a ringtone—the sound made when a cell phone receives a call—was heard around the world.

“When did mobile become meaningful in Europe and what was behind it?” says Peggy Anne Salz, an American living in Germany who has gone on to become one of the world’s top wireless analysts and commentators. “One word, well two—Crazy Frog. The early driver of mobile was not so much communications as it was entertainment. Europe had what it took to help companies across the mobile entertainment ecosystem develop and flourish. It ranged from interoperability through SMS [text messaging available across mobile operators] and MMS [multimedia ...

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