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Mobile data usage to surge over 12-24 months

16 февраля 2009

Mobile data usage is set to rocket in the next one to two years, according to the results of a new survey, providing network operators with further quality of service challenges.

Existing data users plan to increase their data usage, while those that currently do not use data services plan to start using them, a study of mobile customers in North America and five European markets, discovered. This will mean operators will have increased usage from a total of 175 million customers across those markets to contend with.

The survey was carried out by The Nielsen Company among 50,000-plus mobile customers in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It was commissioned by Tellabs and the results were published alongside Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

"A lot of the promise… is finally starting to become fulfilled, said Pat Dolan, VP and general manager, EMEA, at Tellabs, speaking to Total Telecom ahead of the announcement.

"[It's a] big opportunity for the operators, but something they need to get ahead of," warned Jeff Hermann, VP mobile media at Nielsen Online.

As it stands, there are approximately 200 million mobile data users across those markets, more than half of which will likely increase usage in the near term, Dolan and Hermann explained. Meanwhile a quarter of the non-data users will also start using these services. The survey refers to all types of data service, including Internet, email, multimedia messaging, music downloads, photo uploads, gaming and commerce.

The most popular is the mobile Internet, with 49% of non-data users in the U.S. and 34% in the five European markets saying they intend to surf the mobile Web in the next two years.

However, European users were more interested in MMS, with 39% of non-data users indicated a desire to adopt that service.

Uploading photos proved to be more popular amongst U.S. respondents, with 34% showing interest in that service, compared with just 27% in Europe.

This is largely to do with the relative popularity of mobile social networking on either side of the Atlantic, Hermann explained.

"Mobile social networking is gaining a lot of momentum in the U.S.," he said.

Nielsen and Tellabs were keen to highlight the positive responses to mobile data through the survey, despite the fact it was carried out against the background of the current economic situation.

"People are willing to spend more on mobile data services," despite the downturn, Dolan noted.

This largely stems from whether end-users view data services as a convenience or as a source of entertainment, Hermann explained.

"Convenience really drives a lot of usage of certain types of services," he said.

If something is viewed as a utility, "consumers are willing to pay for it," he added. Whereas entertainment, "that's more of a discretionary spend."

While entertainment-based services need more time to develop, "usefulness… is what drives adoption," he said.

Usefulness also proves sticky.

Once people start using these services, "they can't do without them, and that will continue to snowball," Dolan said.


Источник: Total Telecom

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