Mobile internet users want flat rate data packages

Mobile internet users across the UK and US want flat rate data packages to be more readily available, and cite that as the one factor most likely to increase the time they spend on the mobile web.

The findings of the Mobile Internet Attitudes Report 2010 reveal the growing appetite for flat rate data, with just under half (49%) of mobile users across both regions saying they would be more likely to sign up to such packages if operators did more to make them easier to sign up to. Mobile internet specialist Volantis commissioned YouGov to conduct the poll which questioned 4,324 consumers online, aged 18+, in the UK and US.

Despite the fact that operators offer an increasing array of services and applications for the mobile internet, the Mobile Internet Attitudes Report revealed that there are still a high number of mobile users with internet-ready phones who are not motivated to go online via their handset.

In the UK, one third of respondents (33%) reported that they don’t use the internet despite having access on their phone, while one American in four (25%) with an internet-ready phone is still not logging on. Although concerted efforts by operators to push high end smartphones to their subscribers have been successful in increasing the take up of these feature-rich phones, more needs to be done to encourage and educate consumers to use their mobiles to their full capability.

The report also revealed that mobile phone users across the UK and US would be keen to have websites and services optimised for their specific mobile device, if it means that they could more quickly access the services they want; 32% of those asked in both regions said it would get them using the mobile internet more often. In turn, 51% of all respondents said they were only prepared to spend up to three minutes surfing for a specific piece of content on their phones, suggesting that if websites and content were better optimised and easier to locate across a wider range of handsets, they would be more likely to have a positive mobile internet experience.

Results from the research also highlighted one of the major issues currently facing operators as more subscribers access the mobile web on a regular basis, how to balance the roll out of new services across their networks to remain competitive.

Of those asked, more than one in ten UK mobile internet users (13%) and almost a fifth of US users (17%) are now accessing the mobile internet more than once a day from their phones. In total, an impressive 27% of UK consumers and 28% of Americans surveyed said they now use the mobile internet at least once a week, if not more. These results suggest that mass mobile internet adoption is now approaching a tipping point.

As usage continues to grow in 2010, operators will need to effectively manage the strain on their networks from a combination of an increase in users and a greater adoption of high bandwidth services such as video and audio streaming.

When asked what they found to be the most frustrating part of their mobile internet experience, the Volantis-commissioned research found that only one in 20 (5%) are completely satisfied with their current mobile internet service. A further 32% of UK users and 23% of Americans said that network speed remains the biggest barrier to them using the mobile web on a more regular basis.

“Operators must do more to open up compelling application and mobile internet services to subscribers of all mobile devices, and make flat-rate data packages far more easily available,” said Mark Watson, CEO of Volantis. “By opening up mobile data services and optimising the end user experience, operators can create a new body of mobile internet consumers, and proactively increase the data revenues required to support the required network and development effort. Many of the less-advanced devices will also prove less of a strain on networks compared to the smartphone devices, so that – on mid-tier handsets especially – operators will see a higher average profit margin per user, and a greater individual contribution to data revenues.”