U.S. consumers grapple with 3G technology

U.S. consumers, like their global counterparts, haven’t grasped the advantages of 3G (Third Generation) mobile handsets, according to findings from the TNS Global Technology Insights (GTI) 2006 study.

3G mobile handsets offer support for improved video services; however, the study found that fewer than 5 percent of U.S. consumers currently use mobile TV services, including real-time TV access and downloading of entertainment programs and sports. During the next few years, an additional 10 percent of consumers are expected to start using those services.

The study found that 40 to 50 percent of U.S. consumers who use mobile TV, electronic banking, on-line gaming, location services and subscription services use them daily. This compares to 20 to 25 percent daily usage for the rest of the world.

According to the study, in the United States, 16 percent of mobile phone users have handsets with 3G technology, but only 10 percent make use of the 3G functionality. That compares with 20 percent of consumers globally with 3G capabilities. Nine percent of those users take advantage of the enhanced service.

Cost appears to be the greatest barrier to broader adoption of 3G technology, according to the study. It also found that other factors, such as network speed, battery life, screen size, image quality and memory, could also be obstacles for many services.

TSN surveyed 16,000 consumers in 29 countries during August for the GTI 2006 study. The U.S. component included about 1000 consumers.