Plenty, according to Rutberg & Co., a San Francisco-based technology research firm. Venture capital investment in mobile consumer applications jumped 90 percent in the first half of 2008, to $383 million, from $202 million in the second half of 2007.
By contrast, venture investment in cell towers, networking equipment and antennas dropped $456 million to $383 million in that period. And investments in niche or regional companies seeking to compete with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint is down too, to $141 million in the first half of this year from $463 million in the second half of 2007.
There are several reasons for the shift, said Rajeev Chand, a Rutberg analyst who helped compile the data. The largest mobile virtual network operators, or MVNO’s, proved to be failures last year so many investors are staying away. (One of those was Disney Mobile, which was shuttered not long after ESPN abandoned its MVNO.) Secondly, he said, as ATT..."