According to a new report from telecom research firm Berg Insight, more than 100 million mobile subscribers in Europe will use location-based services by 2012. Mapping, navigation and search are believed to become the top applications, followed by social networking and tracking. "All the pieces needed for successful LBS are more or less in place now", said André Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight.
"GPS is about to become a standard feature in mass-market handsets which are highly advanced and support third party applications. Many will try and a few players will most likely succeed in creating location-enabled mobile applications that will have the same impact on the mobile industry as MySpace and Facebook had on the Internet."
High adoption rates will however not immediately translate into high revenues. LBS providers are going to have to depend on advertising sales in the same way as other online players. The mobile advertising eco-system is still undeveloped and needs many more years to become mature. "First there must be a critical mass of active users to work with, then someone must create a successful model for reaching out to these individuals via their handsets and after that the mobile media must be embraced by the top spenders in the advertising industry", said André.