The latest Mobinet study from A.T. Kearney reports that 41 percent of the world’s wireless phone users expect to be regular or heavy users of data services by 2005. The Index looks at current and planned usage of wireless data services such as mobile email, games, music downloads, photo messaging, and news updates and the strong user demand represents a whopping 200-percent increase over the past year. Have mobile data services finally reached a tipping point?
The Mobinet Index research project was initiated in June 2000 by A.T. Kearney and the Judge Institute of Management at Cambridge University’s business school and comprises an annual survey and analysis of mobile data and mobile Internet usage trends.
For Mobinet 2004, approximately 4,500 interviews were conducted with mobile phone users in their own language in 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The 2004 report finds that mobile data services have reached a tipping point in terms of mass-market levels of customer interest and acceptance.
WWJ can strongly endorse this conclusion: our traffic is up significantly and recently search terms have included everything from “3G access” to “videophones;” it also appears that site visitors include not only industry insiders looking for the latest gen from Japan, but also tech-savvy users anticipating what might hit markets elsewhere. Services based on technologies such as mobile music, wireless e-commerce, MVNOs, RFIDs, QR-code readers, and Wi-Fi are hot, and mobilers everywhere are asking for them.
Among the conclusions in Mobinet 2004:
- 66 percent of mobile users are “emerging users” of data, but over the next 12 months 41 percent will become “regular” or “heavy” users
- Penetration of multimedia phones has increased from 43 to 49 percent, globally
- Mobile data users are more concerned with security and privacy, while non-users remain concerned with cost
- 25 percent of multimedia phone users access information services at least once per month
- Camera phones are now used by 21 percent of mobilers globally (64 percent in Japan!)
What’s stopping mobile phone users from using mobile Net access even more than they are currently? Mobinet reports that cost has remained a key factor over the past few years, and the number of respondents reporting cost as a major factor has actually risen. In 2002 and 2003, approximately 28 percent were worried about their mobile data costs while in the present 2004 report 35 percent say they are sweating as they rip open their monthly bill.
There’s lots more in the report, which is well worth reading in the original. (Note: The PDF file posted on the A.T. Kearney site is only a summary of the full report.)
All in all, the Mobinet Index presents a comprehensive picture of mobile data usage across numerous markets and should be required reading for anyone planning any new services.
Also related: eMarketer reviewed Mobile Index 2004 yesterday and posted several charts here.
— Ken Gai