2008: The year of voice and SMS

Voice and text remain the killer applications worldwide as mobile phone users across the globe admit to using their devices for the same things that they did in 2003.

Research commissioned by telecom application connectivity specialist, AppTrigger, also showed that despite advances in mobile phone functionality and the launch of devices such as Apple’s iPhone, almost a third (30%) of Americans and Canadians and more than half of UK adults (57%) insist that the way in which they use their mobiles has not changed for five years.

The studies carried out across the UK, America, Canada and China reveal that service providers still have a mountain to climb when it comes to encouraging the adoption of new applications and increasing their revenue opportunities. While 50% of US and Canadian respondents use voicemail and almost a third (31%) use SMS at least once a day, just a fifth surf the mobile web at least once a day and 12% play mobile games. A further 49% also admitted that they never watch videos on their phone and 43% never use their device to listen to music.

The results from China also reveal extremely low adoption rates of new applications, such as instant financial messaging systems (FMS) at only 5%, phone number keeper at 6%, mobile secretary and GPS-based services, at 9% and 6% respectively.

Despite low usage rates, there is clear consumer demand for new mobile services as more than half (56%) of Chinese mobile users hope their service providers continue to launch new and improved applications and almost three quarters of Americans and Canadians (74%) want additional services on their devices as well.

Ronald Gruia, principal analyst for emerging telecoms at Frost & Sullivan, stated: “These survey results highlight that voice still remains the killer application, despite the growth of some data services. Mobile users still are relying quite heavily on voice-based value added services, and this still represents a very important revenue stream for service providers. Therefore, operators need to leverage their existing revenue generating assets with new IP services to create and push out new innovative services more quickly,” added Gruia.

With the context of an ever evolving mobile landscape, as this research revealed, voicemail and text messaging remain the most desired and frequently used applications. From the operator’s standpoint, consistently introducing new, advanced offerings that leverage and compliment their existing voice services is critical to remain competitive in the mobile landscape. Therefore, the introduction and uptake of new applications needs to improve, the research concluded.