Mobile Users Turned Off by Advanced Features?

August 23, 2007
In a report that does not sync with the rosy predictions of some video-to-mobile phone advocates, long-time mobile phone watcher Continental Research finds that mobile telephone users just aren't showing interest in advanced features such as accessing the Internet or downloading and watching TV on their handset.

Data from the Continental Research 2007 Mobile Phone Report, to be released next month, show that the percentage of mobile users using advanced features has decreased in eight out of 11 activities tracked over the past 12 months. Only the percentage of people sending photo messages and downloading games has increased.

"For some time now mobile networks have aggressively promoted various advanced mobile services but this approach seems to be falling on deaf ears," said James Myring, the aptly named author of the report. "The numbers performing these activities remains relatively low and consequently the Average Revenue Per User remains stubbornly static."

Myring added that while technical issues are part of the explanation, much of the problem is that many mobile users are simply not interested. Mobile networks trying to push these advanced features in many cases are simply knocking against a locked door, he said.

The report states that 68% of mobile users agreed with a statement expressing preference for a more basic mobile phone that was simple to use and affordable.

"Clearly a majority of mobile users are not particularly interested in the latest in mobile design and technology, and are more attracted by simplicity and economy," said Myring. "Looking first at the importance of style, only 25% of mobile users agreed 'I am prepared to pay more for a mobile phone that looks stylish.' Similarly, only 25% of mobile users agreed that 'I am prepared to pay more for a mobile phone that has the latest in mobile technology.'

"The mobile market is two tiered, with a majority of mainly older mobile users who have limited or no interest in the latest mobile developments and a lucrative minority (almost all of whom are young) who are prepared to pay more for the latest in mobile style and technology. Attracting and retaining this group of mobile users is imperative for the mobile networks."

This report follows analyst predictions from earlier this year that the current 4+ million mobile video subs would grow to an estimated 155.6 million by year-end 2012.

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