Mobile data usage on budget INQ1 rivals 3G smartphones

INQ Mobile, maker of the low cost social mobile, has released data on usage of the INQ1 on the 3 UK network. The company’s handset was built from the ground up with social media and internet services at its core. This close integration of applications and easy to use interface means that, for the first time, consumers are using an entry level priced handset, often on a pay as you go tariff, to access data at levels typically reserved for much more expensive smartphones.

An average of 65% of INQ1 customers are using Facebook, with the majority of users accessing once a day or more. This level of mass market data usage on a well priced slider device means higher margins and ARPU for carriers because it is paired with lower subsidy and network load costs.

The high usage of email on a non-QWERTY device surpassed all expectations. Altogether, 30% of INQ1 customers are regularly using email, which shows that if it is easy enough to use people will access email even on standard 12 key devices using T9. This number also confirms that email can penetrate into the mass market, and not be restricted to high end, expensive smartphones. The email service for 3 UK is provided by SEVEN, and takes advantage of the INQ API to provide customers with tightly integrated push email.

Windows Live Messenger usage is three to four times greater than on other 3G phones on the 3 UK network, with around 50% of INQ1 customers accessing the service every month. Skype usage is also high, at 19% of the INQ1 base.

Marc Allera, director of sales and marketing at 3 UK, said: “3 has always led the industry when it comes to widespread data and mobile internet activity amongst the base but the numbers we’re seeing on INQ’s Social Mobiles really pushes us to a new, truly mass level. The INQ results with high customer take up of the integrated services, confirms that 3’s strategy of delivering easy to use, well priced mobile internet solutions for everyone is right.

“If an internet communication service is well designed, always on, and simple to use then the take up potential on mobile is huge,” continued Allera. “The reason people don’t use internet services on most devices (except the iPhone) is because the user experience on nearly all devices isn’t good enough. The INQ team has very successfully addressed this.”

Frank Meehan, CEO of INQ Mobile, added: “The iPhone and Blackberry are great devices, but it is important to remember that smartphones only make up 12% of the market. We see a huge opportunity to provide an internet and social networking experience on a handset that costs operators a fraction of what they’re paying for higher end phones. Consumers with an INQ1 can get unlimited data, internet and texts on £15 pay as you go tariff. And now we have seen that they are actually using the phone to access data services like Skype, Windows Live Messenger, email and Facebook at an astonishing rate. We are very happy to see that the simple, well integrated approach we’ve taken to creating a Social Mobile is resonating with the other 88% of the market.”

INQ is also seeing strong numbers in the Hong Kong market, which launched with the INQ1 in March 2009. 50% of INQ1 customers regularly use data services on a level that is four times higher per subscriber than the typical 3G user base. Facebook usage is also three to four times higher than the average on other 3G devices on the 3 Hong Kong network.