Mobile innovation has built a better mousetrap

Mobile technology has spurred the growth of a 'vast, unexplored and profitable' group of companies now worth more than £1bn

The UK is now a hotbed to a "new, vast, unexplored and profitable network of entrepreneurial, growing companies" that are defining the future of mobile technology, O2 claimed on Monday.

The mobile operator made this claim as it launched a list of the 50 more exciting UK mobile companies, which it says generate more than £1bn in total turnover.

Companies on the list include Wyeless, which has developed among other things a wireless-enabled rat trap and The Cloud, the largest public Wi-Fi hot-spot operator in Europe.

According to O2, there are now more than 63 million handsets in use in the UK, giving 85 percent of households access to mobile phones.

"In this listing, we wanted to show that this is an industry in its own right," said Mike Short, vice-president of O2 and chairman of the Mobile Data Association. "It is an industry in which over 200 UK companies play an active role."

Short points out that there are no handset suppliers or O2 partners in the list, which also excludes companies with more than £100m in revenue. Around 30 percent of the companies operate globally and 62 percent are based outside of London.

"There is some marvellous innovation," said Short. "Take Wyeless, which developed the rat trap with Rentokil. The traps have a wireless device inside that issues an alert when a trap has gone off. They know to empty the trap and don't have the health problems of a dead rat. Simple and clever."

Other companies on the list include 3Way networks, which builds 3G base stations for the US military, Babel Media, a £4.9m interactive games company and Cognima, which provides software for moving content and images on and off phones quickly.