Excellent article from ARC on mobile data trends, mentioning that Vodafone has just reported a 50% jump in data traffic:
It is the culmination of attractive data pricing, improved usability and mobile demand for Web 2.0 services which is brewing to form the prefect data storm. As data pricing erodes along the same path travelled by voice, operators must now identify ways to tap into revenues from web services or else be left exposed when the data hurricane arrives.
Personally I don’t need convincing; I’ve been a heavy mobile data user for years; I can’t wait for the data price erosion mentioned. Now we are seeing great little apps from Google (Maps, GMail) and others, better mobile web browsers (iPhone etc) and faster data speeds, and the mass market is waking up to the potential for mobile Internet access. It is taking longer than anyone thought it would, but the trend is unmistakable.
Postscript: see Mobile Web- So Close Yet So Far for a more enigmatic view from Michael Fitzgerald at the New York Times:
For now, widespread use of the mobile Web remains both far off and inevitable.
Note that the piece criticizes the iPhone for not supporting Flash.
The dynamics of this are interesting. Flash is sufficiently entrenched that you can say iPhone is bad for not rendering Flash, not that Flash is bad because it does not work on an iPhone.