If you're a Netrepreneur, your sales no longer have to end at the U.S. coastline. Many European countries have long lagged behind the United States in the number of people using the Internet, but Western Europe is fast catching up, thanks to its widespread use of Internet-enabled "smart" mobile phones. By next year, predicts market research firm IDC, more than 100 million Europeans--over 25 percent of the total population--will have cell phones capable of receiving e-mail, retrieving information from wireless Web portals, and even placing online orders for goods and services.
That compares to 70 million people using PCs in the United States. Indeed, European start-ups are well ahead of U.S. firms in innovating new wireless data services, mainly because the U.S. market has been fragmented by conflicting digital phone standards. Still, later this year, e-mail, instant messages and some Web content should start showing up on U.S. cell and PCS phones in significant numbers.