UK: SLOW MARCH OF THE MOBILES.

UK: SLOW MARCH OF THE MOBILES. - Yuppiedom was bowled over the mobile. It was a limited love affair. No one yet knows who has the market's number.

by Malcolm Brown.

Yuppiedom was bowled over the mobile. It was a limited love affair. No one yet knows who has the market's number.

A few years ago, when yuppies were the only people with mobile phones, journalists took to describing them, with no great originality, as 'the latest fashion accessory'. They may, for once, have been more prescient than they realised. One of the last things that Stafford Taylor, managing director of Cellnet, did before he left in October to take up a top job with BT, Cellnet's majority shareholder, was to have talks with the head of a major high street fashion chain about stocking cellphones in his shops. It's a natural progression, says Taylor. Up till now the mobile phone has been thought of as a piece of consumer electronics, a 'male' product. But why not think more like a woman and re-position it as a fashion item? 'It's a very important channel to market. What I'd like to see are cellphones hung up in Marks and Spencer beside the knicker counter.' It may yet happen. The mobile phone industry is in transition. The big question is the nature of the transition. Is it evolutionary - just a speeding up, an amplification, of present trends - or is it revolutionary?

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