UK Mobile Users Disinterested in 3G

As the mobile industry prepares for 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, the biggest trade show for mobile industry, new research suggests that UK consumers are finding mobile services increasingly confusing and that issues around ease-of-use are still holding them back from buying and using 3G handsets and services.

According to the poll commissioned by Netonomy, a leader in customer self-service solutions for the communications industry, a staggering 79 percent of respondents believe mobile phone services are getting more complicated to understand and configure, compared with 71 percent of respondents in a similar survey carried out in January 2005. Furthermore, 73 percent of the early-adopters that already own 3G phones rarely use the 3G services and applications available to them. Indeed 28 percent never use them at all.

While technology is intended to make our lives easier, it would seem that consumers are struggling to cope with the emergence of next-generation mobile services. Of those that did not already own a 3G phone, less than half (47 percent) were confident that they would find 3G phones and services easy-to-use and only 8 per cent of respondents are considering upgrading to a 3G phone.

Fortunately, the news is not all bad for operators. The number of users confident that they would find 3G phones and services easy-to-use has grown slightly from 45 percent in the previous survey to 47 percent today. In addition, the percentage of respondents planning to upgrade to a 3G handset has doubled from 4 percent to 8 percent, but unfortunately it still remains in the single digits.

“This research is likely to be a bit disappointing for the mobile industry,” comments John Hughes, cofounder and executive vice president of Netonomy. “While there has been an increase since we asked the same question a year ago, real consumer demand for 3G is still low. Operators have spent billions of dollars on 3G licenses, and billions more on developing the technology, but it still looks like customers are fairly indifferent.”