Archive for the ‘SMS’ Category

Lots of new users won’t re-use mobile data

July 12, 2006

From 160 Characters, a study shows that “44% of UK mobile phone users who used a mobile data service for the first time during the 2006 Football World Cup will not use it again”. Why? Same old culprits: “Pricing was a big issue with only 49% of consumers satisfied with the cost of the mobile data service they used. On top of this 19% believe that if mobile data services were easier to set up and use they would have been encouraged to use the services on offer during 2006 football world cup.

I know I keep coming back to the same story, but what’s the most widely adopted mobile data service and is there a coincidence that it’s the easiest to use & priced reasonably? SMS!

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When will consumers use more than SMS and MMS?

July 5, 2006

New survey from Jupiter Research (via MocoNews) shows that “the majority of European consumers – some 68 per cent – are not interested in paying for any data services outside text and picture messaging”…

Of course that means 32% may be interested in paying for more advanced data services. So then the million dollar question: when? Lots of companies are betting on the hype surrounding mobile video, mobile games, etc…If consumer adoption of these advanced mobile data services takes longer than expected (as I suspect it will), watch out for a shake-up…

Who are “connected creators”?

June 19, 2006

A little late on posting this…but M:Metrics posted its latest monthly survey on mobile data adoption. This month’s topic: “connected creators” who are using mobile social networking-type apps.

Their press release defines these “connected creators” as users who have “uploaded photos or videos to the Web, used chat or used dating applications” on their cell phones. M:Metrics cites 6.7% of U.S. mobile subscribers as “connected creators”.

But why exclude the 35% of U.S. subscribers (and nearly 80% of U.S. college students) who text message from this list of potential mobile social networking users? As this Mercury News article points out, some of the decline in teen email use may be attributed to the growth in MySpace messaging. Messaging is an important part of any social community – and SMS will be particularly important for mobile social communities

SMS is still the best

May 23, 2006

One of the dangers of working in mobile is that it's easy to get caught up in the hype. Throw in 3G, GPS, mobile video, mobile music, 2bn+ mobile subscribers worldwide, etc….and you can quickly see how a lot of smart people and well-run companies get mesmerized by the possibilities.

The danger, of course, is that these visions of the "mobile society" get too far ahead of the way normal, everyday people use their mobile phones. I'm a huge believer in the long-term potential for mobile (otherwise I wouldn't be working in mobile!), but I also think too many ignore some basic facts: voice still drives mobile phone usage / carrier selection and the only "universal" data service is SMS.

Take this recent study published in Newsday (via MobHappy) about US college students' mobile phone usage. A demographic that everybody expects to be among the heaviest users of mobile data – college students – emphasizes voice features as being most important and overwhelmingly uses SMS.

  • 85% of students sent or received a text message in the past month. Avg. number of messages exchanged per month was 115.
  • 60% of students are enrolled in a family plan
  • Three most important factors for selecting mobile carriers are all voice-related: cost of minutes (53%), free long distance (27%), and free mobile-to-mobile (25%).

A recent post by Danah Boyd on mobile social communities also points out the problems of building mobile communities that aren't universally accessible / used within social clusters (i.e., communities built around GPS, mobile clients that only work on specific handsets or only with specific carriers, etc.). As the 85% adoption of SMS by US college students shows, SMS is the only mobile data service that's used and accessible by almost everybody. Not GPS. Not some slick downloadable app. Not mobile video. Plain, old, simple, boring…SMS.

SMS is cheap, it's super easy to use, and it works with practically everybody else's mobile phone (hmm…could that be a reason SMS is so popular?). Even though the influential / early adopter youth crowd mostly have "shit plans" (as Danah Boyd calls them) because they can't afford expensive data plans, most of them can't go without one data service: SMS. Sounds like a winner to me.