Just released from comScore is a new wireless report that captures a range of metrics and attitudes from U.S. mobile users. Here’s the press release. Among the key findings were the following:
14% of users have given up their landlines 33% strongly agree they “feel lost” without their cell phone 17% subscribe to wireless Internet service
Beyond voice: Here are subscriber rates for services beyond basic voice (% of users):
Text Messaging: 50% E-mail: 30% Instant Messaging: 22% Multimedia Messaging: 15%
Internet to go: As mentioned, only 17% of U.S. mobile users subscribe to their carriers’ Internet service. Here are the content types accessed (% of users):
E-mail: 44% Ring Tone Downloads: 35% Weather: 34% News: 29% Sports: 25% Local Search (i.e. YP): 24% Game Downloads: 21% Travel Information: 19% Wallpaper Downloads: 16% Directory Assistance: 15% Financial Information: 10% Pay Bills: 10% Shopping: 6%
comScore interprets the small number of mobile Internet subscribers in a “half-full” sort of way, saying it indicates “significant growth potential.” While that’s true it also illustrates the generally poor state of the user experience to date.
We will certainly see increasing subscriber numbers for wireless Internet content, especially as the culture of mobile Internet usage gains ground. The “X variables” are data plan prices, devices and network speeds. All these are moving in the right direction and it’s really just a question of when rather than if mobile data adoption will reach critical mass. In the meantime all the major search providers are ramping up their mobile consumer applications and testing mobile advertising.
Last week, of course, Yahoo announced Go 2.0, which offers a much-improved user experience and Apple introduced its new iPhone, which holds out the promise of a radically improved mobile Internet experience. However the iPhone is arguably prohibitively expensive for a mass audience.