Wireless Directory Assistance to Generate Billions

    August 3, 2004

According to a new report the addition of mobile numbers to the U.S. directory assistance/enquiry (DA/DQ) database could translate to a revenue opportunity for telecommunications carriers and DA/DQ service providers of nearly $2 billion dollars by 2008.

The report, entitled, “Adding Mobile Numbers to the U.S. Directory Assistance/Enquiry Database,” indicates that introducing mobile numbers to the DA/DQ database also represents a substantial opportunity for carriers and service providers to improve consumer privacy and service to customers.

“With the technology available today, providing greater consumer privacy and better connectivity at the same time are not mutually exclusive ends,” said Kathleen Pierz, managing partner, The Pierz Group. “If consumers are given a reasonable amount of privacy protection, and, if point-of-sale communications properly direct them toward an opt-in program, consumers will list their mobile phone numbers for DA/DQ purposes.”

The report provides detailed analysis of the wireless DA/DQ opportunity in the U.S., highlighting the Scandinavian experience-where there is broad acceptance of listing wireless numbers in the DA/DQ database-as a model for adding mobile numbers to the DA/DQ database in the U.S.

The Pierz Group report provides analysis underscoring the need for a wireless DA/DQ database, due in part to the growing number of wireless subscribers who use their mobile phone as their primary or only phone. The report also outlines the challenges to generating high levels of participation by mobile subscribers. Among the key findings in the report:

* There are now as many mobile subscribers as fixed line subscribers in the U.S.
* 53 percent of all telephone subscribers are unreachable through DA/DQ services today. Only 47 percent of all telephone subscribers are listed in the United States. 20 percent of fixed line phones and 97 percent of mobile phones are unlisted.
* A range of possible privacy protections exists today. Any one of them could provide sufficient protections to motivate consumers to opt-in to a mobile database. They are technically feasible and many have completed successful in-market trials.

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