Innovation That Matters

Top 10 telecom & mobile business ideas in 2007


We’re deviating from our regular schedule to bring you the best new business ideas of 2007, featuring our personal favourites. This isn’t a trip down memory lane—all of these smart concepts will continue to provide entrepreneurs with plenty of opportunities in 2008. Next up: telecom and mobile.
  1. Teaching people to use their feature-rich phones: Since the dawn of the personal computer age, millions of us have attended training classes to learn how to build better spreadsheets and killer PowerPoint presentations. Now, as cell phones and other mobile gadgets become increasingly complex and loaded with features, entrepreneurs are finding similar opportunities in the mobile market. More »
  2. Voice to text dictation from any cell phone: Turning any cell phone into an eager personal scribe, Jott transforms spoken messages into text. After signing up for the service online and validating their phone number and email address, users dial Jott’s toll free number, speak for up to 30 seconds and then hang up. Jott transcribes the spoken words into writing, and sends the message to its destination as an email or text message. More »
  3. Launch your own mobile network: We’ve written about mobile virtual network operators for gay customers, for 16-24 year olds and for charity. Now, anyone can start their own MVNO using Sonopia, which launched earlier this week. Sonopia works with Verizon to handle calls and data transfer, and lets anyone from rock bands to church groups set up their own mobile network brand. More »
  4. Zero cents per minute: Blyk, a mobile virtual network operator that launched this year, bills itself as a pan-European free mobile operator for young people. The company offers 16 to 24-year-olds 217 texts and 43 minutes every month, for free, funded by advertising. More »
  5. Selling wine by sms: After encountering a great wine in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, instead of vowing to remember the name and vintage, Dutch consumers can now dash off an sms to The online wine seller quotes them a price and delivery details, and customers can order a bottle or case by texting back. More »
  6. Build your own mobile phone: US start-up Bug Labs wants to harness consumer creativity by enabling tech-savvy do-it-yourselfers to create their own mobile devices. The company has designed several basic hardware modules that snap together like building blocks to perform whatever mobile function their owners desire. More »
  7. A Blind Call: accidental charity: Every cell phone user has done it: forgot to lock their phone’s keypad and accidentally called the first person in the contact list. Usually some unlucky person by the name of Aaron or Abigail. Belgian ad agency Duval Guillaume came up with a clever campaign that turns accidental calls into semi-accidental donations to the Belgian League for the Blind. More »
  8. Mobile loo locator: While some mobile services work towards such lofty goals as helping people find their soul mates, or making local government more efficient, others focus on more basic needs. San Francisco’s MizPee and London’s SatLav are location-based services that let people use their mobile phones to find the nearest public toilet. More » and more »
  9. Nutritionists on speed dial: Most dieticians agree that food awareness and healthy eating habits beat a fad diet any day. The problem is that most people don’t have the discipline, time or interest to continuously track what they’re eating and how many calories each meal or snack adds to their daily intake. Two services, in Japan and Canada, let consumers use their cameraphones to track their meals and have them analysed by nutritionists. More »
  10. Dialogue t-shirts: T-shirts have long been conversation starters, letting their wearers express bold political views, support their favourite artist or display their quirky sense of humour. Reactee takes the interaction to another level by harnessing the power of text messaging, creating t-shirts that “text back”. More »