there's a belief that mobile advertising has only just begun. While I agree we're in the early days, rudimentary advertising on mobile devices has been in play for a few years. USA Today began offering mobile advertising when WAP 1.0 started a few years back. Granted, these were very basic, plain-text sites, but it was mobile advertising, nonetheless.

What's gotten us to where we are today? Improved data networks, richer media enabled handsets and more content. Matt Jones, mobile products director at USATODAY.com (and one of the leaders in the mobile advertising space), tells me these increased capabilities allow content providers to provide more compelling services into the hands of the consumer. USATODAY.com's mobile version is fully ad-supported, and the content provider is one of the leading companies embracing the mobile channel.

So let's discuss what mobile advertising means for consumers. Perhaps the most significant benefit will come through consumer access to richer content and media. Content is expensive to generate and offer to consumers, and advertising provides a means to offer richer content at more reasonable cost. John Styers, general manager of mobile advertising at Sprint, explains that given the increasing costs to generate content, carriers are developing new methods to subsidize or recover costs on the more expensive content. Mobile advertising may also provide consumers with access to content they previously were unaware of. Lots of new content providers will want to pay to be featured on the carrier deck (again, lots of opportunity for consumers in terms of broader access to rich media). According to Jones, "Mobile advertising allows us to have a viable business," by adding more content, features and richness to their site – ultimately, improving the experience and opportunities for the consumer.

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