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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 25, 2006 at 12:15 PM

WSA: Wireless keynote

Mark Lowenstien, the managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, is presenting the noon keynote focused on wireless — one of the hot topics today at the WSA Investment Forum.

Lowenstein is making many industry observations, including why data usage on wireless phones has taken off in other geographic regions before the U.S.

He said it comes down to price. In the U.S., we spend about 7 cents a minute for an average voice call with virtually no roaming charges. In Europe, a voice minute costs about 15 to 20 cents a minute and there frequently are roaming charges.

In comparing the U.S.with Europe, Lowenstein makes a further, newer observation. He said the U.S. has leap-frogged Europe when it comes to data usage. Although a larger percentage of revenue may come from data there (about 25 percent), if you take out text messaging, the U.S. far exceeds Europe when it comes to downloading games, ringtones and wallpapers and other content.

“In the download business, we are well ahead of Western Europe,” he said.

We are also ahead in network technology, he said. Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel have rolled out signifcant 3G networks, which provide broadband speeds, and Cingular Wireless has rolled out an even faster technology than what’s available widely in Europe.

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