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What Is the Mobile Industry?

The mobile industry now includes makers of computer hardware, software and wireless technologies that are used in a variety of portable devices.
A cell tower.
The mobile industry now includes advanced devices like tablet computers.
The mobile industry includes makers of software apps accessed on portable devices.
Apple Corporation's Steve Jobs was a major force behind the development of mobile computing.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
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  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2014
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The mobile industry is a subset of the telecommunications industry focused on mobile phones, phone service, and peripheral devices. In the 1990s and 2000s, this industry experienced rapid growth as a result of significant advances in mobile technology and increasing consumer demand for mobile products.

There are a number of elements to the mobile industry. Mobile phone producers are one aspect, covering everything from companies supplying raw materials to distributors fulfilling orders for mobile phones. Service providers are another category of the cellphone industry; many of these partner with specific manufacturers to make branded phones and devices with special features. Manufacturers of smart phones, specialized modems for computers, tablet computers with mobile functionality, and similar devices are also part of the mobile industry. Likewise with producers of accessories.

Members of this industry include a number of multinational corporations with very wide reach, in addition to smaller companies offering localized services, like regional mobile phone providers. They are represented by a number of lobbies and professional organizations who work with regulatory agencies, manufacturers, and other interested parties to develop standards and practices for the cellphone industry as a whole. For example, in the 2000s, there was a push toward universal charging devices to make mobile phones easier to charge.

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As with other aspects of the tech sector, the mobile industry in the 2000s attracted a great deal of investor attention and was pressured to rapidly roll out new products, as well as improvements to their existing products. Global coverage with mobile phone service also became a topic of interest; in some regions, people skipped landline service altogether for telecommunications, jumping directly to mobile phones because the network was cheaper and easier to implement. Stock indexes focusing on telecommunications and the mobile industry provided a method for investing easily in companies of interest, stimulating trading in shares related to this industry, as well as telecommunications in general.

Employment opportunities in this industry are highly varied. Engineers, technicians, repair personnel, and similar workers are needed for building and maintaining devices and cell towers. Marketing professionals are involved in the development of ad campaigns, and customer service personnel are needed to sell products and services. Creative professionals interested in visual design and aesthetics are also in demand in the industry for companies working on developing phones with specific aesthetic characteristics.

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Discuss this Article

B707
Post 11

I'm pretty impressed with the way the telecommunication system has organized through lobbies and organizations to work with government agencies to standardize the industry on some issues. Making the effort to make all the charging devices so they can work interchangeable for all types of phones is a good idea. I don't know if this has been approved yet, but I hope it will be..

One thing - I hope prices go down on all telecommunication items and services.

BabaB
Post 10

All the advances in telecommunication in the last 20 years has really blown my mind. I still like having a land line. And I mostly use my mobile phone to make phone calls.

On the smartphones, I think that the screen and the keys are way too small for me to use. But it must work for a lot of people. A good 2/3 of the people I observe are texting or playing a game, or ordering something online.

I'd much rather write emails, play games etc. on my desk computer.

SZapper
Post 9

The mobile industry is pretty amazing, I'll give you that. However, I feel like it really feeds our consumerist culture. A new and better phone comes out almost every other minute it seems. Then the commercials tell us, "Buy buy buy!"

Also, from what I understand, most cell phone aren't meant to last more than few years. After a few years, your phone breaks, wears out, or become obsolete and then you have to buy a new one. How convenient for the mobile telecommunications industry!

KaBoom
Post 8

@ceilingcat - That's interesting. I can't imagine buying a background for my phone, but I'm sure some people might be interested in that.

I think the area of the mobile phone industry that's grown the most over the last few years is applications. I can't remember when cell phone companies started offering them, but most people now consider applications to be an integral part of their mobile experience.

Most cell phone commercials reference apps, I feel like I hear someone say "There's an app for that!" at least once every day. Someone must be designing and making money off of all those apps.

ceilingcat
Post 7

I think it's cool how many new jobs the mobile industry has opened up over the years. I remember when I was in college for photography, one of my professors mentioned there were a lot of possibilities for photographers in the mobile industry.

A lot of cell phones use what's called "stock photos" for their backgrounds. Also, they sell different backgrounds to customers who want to customize their phones further. Someone needs to take the pictures for those mobile phone companies, and that's where photographers come in!

shell4life
Post 6

I have a friend who works in the mobile phone industry. She is a customer service representative, and she helps people deal with things they don't understand about their devices and their bills.

She told me that I would be surprised at how many people don't read their contracts before signing them. Then, they get irate about charges they don't understand. She always tells them that it's in their contract, but they want to argue.

She said it's a very stressful job. Not many people can handle getting yelled at all day, and she said that many new hires have quit after their first week.

seag47
Post 5

I used to have a cell phone plan that didn't include many minutes and was quite costly. When cell phones became less expensive and packages started to include unlimited text and picture messages, I started using my cell phone full-time and got rid of my landline.

It was weird at first. My parents and I had used our landline for over twenty years, and I felt like I was losing an old friend.

My cell phone had everything I needed, though. I had caller ID and voicemail, so I wasn't missing out on anything that my landline provided.

Since we were already paying a family package rate for our cell phones each month, we didn't see any sense in paying for a separate landline. We had satellite internet, so there was no reason to keep our old connection.

Today, we use a device from the cell phone company to connect to the internet. It gives us high speed internet for the same rate we were paying for super slow satellite internet.

OeKc05
Post 4

@Oceana - I'm with you. I don't think that mobile internet will ever be able to compare with a nice, stationary screen, a mouse to click, and a large keyboard with which to type.

I'm a graphic designer, and it would be nearly impossible for me to do my work on such a small screen. It doesn't allow for much control or precision, both of which are essential to what I do.

I can't imagine trying to type out all the emails I have to send on a mobile phone. My fingers need to be relaxed and have room to move around in order to type efficiently. I find typing with a phone stressful and difficult, and I hope I never have to rely on it for emailing.

Oceana
Post 3

@Ivan83 – I am one of the few who prefers a large computer monitor to a small, portable mobile device. I have tried to read things on the internet using a cell phone, and I don't see how people do it.

I'm aware that you can zoom in on things, but the device doesn't seem to cooperate with my fingertips. Sometimes, it ignores my touch altogether, while at other times, it scrolls so quickly I can't see what's on the page.

I will probably never get internet on my phone for this reason. I like to be able to control what I'm looking at, and I like avoiding the frustration that comes with viewing the web on a mobile phone.

nextcorrea
Post 2

I have heard from several reliable sources that mobile technology in America actually lags pretty far behind mobile technology in the rest of the world. Apparently Korean cell phone companies offer features and deals that we could only dream of over hear.

Can anyone comment more on this? I have never been abroad and frankly don't know anyone from Korea. Is it possible that some of these advances from around the world will become mobile industry trends in America? I sure hope so. I would hate to think that I am getting an inferior product for no reason.

Ivan83
Post 1

It seems like the mobile industry is pretty much the whole industry these days. I don't know anyone under 40 who still has a land line telephone. It's getting to the point that I know a few people who don't even have computers, they just use their phone or a tablet.

I guess this was all pretty inevitable. Who would want to do something stationary that they could do on the go? Technology is all about convenience and mobile technology is really convenient. It allows us to integrate all these devices that we have come to depend on into the very fabric of our lives. I know that some people are naysayers, but I think this is a good thing.

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