Facebook announcement predictions: new phone and revenue from mobile users

Alex Walls
January 14, 2013

Facebook will reportedly hold simultaneous press conferences in the United States and United Kingdom tomorrow about…something.

The company sent out an email last week which apparently just read “Come and see what we’re building”.

Now whether that’s what more than 34, 000 members of the American public petitioned the White House for will be revealed tomorrow…

But the tech world is abuzz with predictions, the most popular of which appears to be a Facebook phone, and we don’t mean the HTC Status with the Facebook share button in-built (although there were reports last year of HTC building a Facebook phone).

Magister Advisors managing director Victor Basta said the three main predictions for tomorrow’s event are for a Facebook phone, an app that enables intra-ecosystem calls or a new range of services that create revenue from mobile users.

He said Facebook had been criticized for its failure to exploit the commercial potential of its mobile user base, which at latest estimates was more than 600 million, and was under pressure to amend this.

He said mobile operators, already burdened by heavy data traffic, would do much of the work of enabling these Facebook services, with little prospect of return and  could become tier two utilities, or the water companies of the technology industry.  He said capacity and bandwidth issues would increase and it was difficult to see where an upside could come from.
“Water companies at least have the advantage of being location specific.  Mobile operators don’t even have that luxury.  They do one thing and one thing only and they are under relentless pressure from global competitors.”

Magister Advisors said industry figures showed mobile data traffic doubles every year, with more than six million mobile subscribers globally.

Other predictions for the announcement tomorrow include a Facebook Operating System, although how much this makes sense in terms of the work involved turning the Facebook system into a mobile OS versus the return (even given the power of having the Facebook brand behind it) is questionable, as well as some new take on Facebook’s money-spinning gaming offers – Facestation, maybe?

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