Set to surpass online dating in the coming years, cell-phone dating is taking advantage of the flexibility and usability of the 3G platform.
Now consumers can add yet another use for their handsets: mobile dating. ‘Deaikei’, or mobile device-centered dating services, have been around in Japan for more than 3 years – all of the major Japanese mobile service providers have branded dating sites, and they actually outrank online dating sites in popularity. Recently Europe and North America have begun to jump into the mobile dating scene, and consumer response is promising. Like FM Keitai, the 3G Dating Agency is another service that’s taking advantage of the flexibility and usability of the 3G platform. A Samsung UK-affiliated service, 3G Dating allows swains and swain-ettes looking for love to connect via SMS, MMS, and video messaging using their 3G handsets. 3G Dating cites the “everybody’s always on” nature of its cell phone-based service as a plus over traditional online dating services (great dating, no waiting). A pic or video and an email address are required to join, and registration plus unlimited access to the profile database is free. The costs come in when users send messages to each other – GBP 0.50 per text message and GBP 1.50 per MMS or video message sent through their service, plus the normal service charges levied by the user’s cell service company. Online dating heavyweight Match.com has also entered the mobile dating arena with its Mobile Match service. Currently available for AT&T Wireless, Cingular, and Nextel customers in the US that also subscribe to wireless internet service, Mobile Match is a separate subscription (and a separate cost) from Match’s standard online service. Matching is strongly location-based – a sort of WhoLivesNearYou.com-and-is-looking-for-a-date. Users can transfer their online Match profiles to their Mobile Match account, and the features are very similar to Match’s online service: new member alerts and “these members match what you’re looking for” alerts, browsing, searching, and sending chat requests are free. Sending personalized SMS messages requires a paid subscription to the service.Match.com expects to add more wireless service providers to Mobile Match in the near future, and we expect to see more online dating sites join the migration to mobile dating.