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Study Finds Mobile Phone Users Embracing Mobile DataComfortable with mobile data services but continue to worry about content and price (November 07, 2005)
Mobile phone users are increasingly comfortable with mobile data services but continue to worry about content and price, according to the latest Mobinet study of how 4,000 mobile phone users in 21 countries use their phones. The study has been conducted eight times since 2000 by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the Judge Business School, Cambridge University.
The study found more than half of mobile phone handsets are less than one-year old and have robust multimedia capabilities that are increasingly understood by their users. Fifty-six percent of these multimedia mobile phone users said they use their phones to access the Internet or check e-mail at least once a month -- a significant jump from the 36 percent who said they did so in the 2004 Mobinet study. Nearly two-thirds of users said new services and functions were easy to understand and enjoyable to use. Even among older mobile phone users, less than half complained that new functions were difficult to use.
"The growing penetration of new multimedia phones is the catalyst for mobile data adoption," said Mark Page, A.T. Kearney vice president and leader of the Mobinet study. "There is a clear relationship between the average revenue per user and the age of the phone the customer uses. People who have recently replaced their handsets are more likely to be heavier users of data services."
Mobile phone users continue to send more pictures, photos and video clips through the use of multimedia messaging services (MMS). One third of multimedia phone owners now use MMS at least monthly, and MMS is used regularly by nearly half of all 19- to 24-year-olds. The study concludes MMS has significant room to grow when compared with traditional text messaging, or SMS, which today is used by nearly 90 percent of mobile phone users regularly.
Mobile Music, Games and TV
Mobile entertainment services also continue to grow, according to the study. One-third of users with multimedia devices downloaded music monthly, up from 21 percent in 2004. Mobile gaming increased in Japan, the Americas and Scandinavia, but levels of repeat use so far remain below those of mobile music. Globally, 16 percent of users with multimedia phones reported downloading mobile games at least monthly. Seventeen percent of users (and 27 percent of those under age 24) said they were willing to pay for mobile TV, the most recently touted mobile entertainment service. However, two-thirds of users expressed a desire for time-sensitive TV content such as news and sports rather than entertainment shows.
Cost and Quality Concerns
The study indicates mobile operators still face challenges in bringing the price and quality of data services in line with consumer expectations. One-third of mobile phone users are concerned about the cost of mobile data, and about half say they are not willing to pay more than $5 per month for it. Thirty-five percent of consumers cited poor content as the reason they don't access multimedia services, a considerable increase from just 8 percent in 2004.
"This is unsettling for operators that have been investing heavily in proprietary portals and content," said Simon Bell, a professor at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University. "Perhaps it suggests they seek more partnerships with established online portal brands and media companies."
Answers for Operators
The study recommends operators shift their marketing focus to encourage repeat use and service loyalty, using pricing along with improved content and customer interfaces. To win over new customers, A.T. Kearney expects operators to perform more extensive market testing, implement easier-to-use content-rich services and offer low price alternative packages. Indeed, 70 percent of mobile phone users say price remains the primary factor in choosing an operator.
"The study clearly indicates strong growth opportunities for mobile operators that provide value-added services and products targeted at specific customer demographics," Page said. "The days of operators being everything to everyone are long past."
The report on Mobinet 2005 can be found at http://www.atkearney.com/main.taf?p=5,3,1,121,1
THE MOBINET INDEX
This unique research project was initiated between global management consultant A.T. Kearney and the Judge Business School, Cambridge University. For Mobinet 2005, approximately 4,000 interviews were conducted with mobile phone users in their own language in 21 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom. The results are validated, consolidated and analyzed to form the basis of the index.
The Mobinet study has been conducted regularly since June 2000.
A.T. Kearney is one of the world's largest management consulting firms. With a global presence that includes offices in 34 countries, A.T. Kearney provides consulting services in the areas of strategic operations management, transformation and organization, and technology strategy to leading private and public sector clients around the world .
Over the past three years, A.T. Kearney has provided management consulting services to 69 companies out of the Fortune 100 in North America and to 73 of the Fortune Global 100 worldwide.
For more information, visit http://www.atkearney.com .
Judge Business School
Judge Business School (http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk ) at the University of Cambridge was founded in 1990. It has over 300 students and 80 teaching and research staff. It offers a portfolio of undergraduate, graduate and executive management programmes, including the Cambridge MBA. Teaching and research benefit from a wide range of associate faculty in other departments within the university. The business school hosts one of the largest concentrations of interdisciplinary business and management research activity in Europe.
Related Keywords:Mobile phone, mobile data services Mobinet study, A.T. Kearney , Judge Business School, Cambridge University