Increasing usage of rich media wireless data services such as mobile TV are driving a change in the way the mobile handset is being used, and Canada’s mobile network operators are looking to cash in.  Chris Langdon, VP of wireless services at Telus Corp., notes that applications such as TV, radio and even mobile podcasting are "really turning the phone into a digital entertainment and communications centre." This change in subscriber usage of the handset is key to driving future revenue for not only Telus Mobility, but also the other wireless operators in the country. Rob Bruce, president of Rogers Communications Inc.’s wireless division, said during a recent investors’ conference that driving usage of wireless data services is key to increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) levels.  He added that network upgrades are the foundation for improved ARPU (RoW, March 22/06). Langdon agrees, noting that Telus Mobility is now operating its EvDO network in six major markets in Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. "These signify we believe that in order to deliver some of these multimedia services speed is important," he tells Report on Wireless. "We wouldn’t undertake those investments unless we thought we were pretty bullish on the whole multimedia space extending out to mobile phones."  The Telus VP wouldn’t provide actual wireless data revenue figures, citing confidentiality, but he says it is growing. "We’re seeing a phenomenal growth across all of our wireless data services, and will be just an enhancement to that."  Nor would Langdon offer any concrete findings regarding viewing times to its mobile TV service. Rogers, on the other hand, is getting upwards of 25 minutes of viewing per month of some of its channels, according to Upinder Saini, VP new product launch and content at Rogers Communications. He made the comments at an industry conference in February.  Just as important is the breadth of content, which was a cornerstone of Telus Mobility’s music download service. The company, which introduced the service in conjunction with the launch of its Telus Spark initiative, inked agreements with the four major record labels before unveiling its music download services.  "It was critical," he says of the decision to get all four major labels on board. "We all know that content is king and managing content will be even more important."  In the mobile context, immediacy plays a major role. "People always want the latest and the greatest…it’s all about immediacy and convenience, so having the breadth of catalogues that the four major publishers provider was critical," Langdon says.  Messaging-type services continue to gain the lion’s share of wireless data revenue for the carriers, and Langdon sees a change taking place here as well with greater numbers of multimedia messaging services (MMS). Just as intercarrier text messaging spurred significant growth in usage in Canada, the same is likely to hold true for MMS.  "You’re starting to see that same phenomenon take place with multimedia messaging, being able to send and share picture," Langdon notes, adding that instant messaging is beginning to take on greater significance from a usage standpoint as well.  Currently, Rogers leads the pack with about 10% of wireless revenue coming from data services and this number is likely to be higher when the company reports first-quarter 2006 financial results later this month.  Langdon wouldn’t say how quickly Telus would hit the 10% mark itself, only that "it’s fast approaching."