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Buying Some Love From Your Mobile Phone

According to some recent snooping around by Juniper Research, mobile dating services will bring in a hefty $1 billion from the lovelorn by 2010.
According to some recent snooping around by Juniper Research, mobile dating services will bring in a hefty $1 billion from the lovelorn by 2010.How many of you out there use dating services or know someone who does? A childhood friend of mine was recently married, and he met his wife-to-be via an online dating service. They aren't the only ones.

This year 40 million people are expected to use mobile dating services such as chat rooms for singles. That number will surge to 260 million by 2012, creating quite an opportunity for providers of dating services to take advantage of the lonely. According to Juniper, the loneliest people are in India and Japan, the two regions that account for the bulk of mobile dating subscribers.

The problem, of course, is that these services cost money. Report author Dr. Windsor Holden said, "Major brands such as Match.com and Webdate have recognized that customers are willing to pay a mobility premium for 24/7 access to these services and are increasing deploying mobile applications to complement and enhance their existing offerings."

For subscribers who are tacking messaging and data services to their calling plans, adding another $10 a month so they can flirt with strangers via their cell phones can be a barrier to entry. On top of that, many are using the mobile services in addition to existing, fixed-internet services to which they already subscribe.

The best bet for providers is to enable rich mobile access to existing fixed-line services for a very nominal fee.