June 13, 2006, 3:04 PM —
This week's highlighted research:
Yankee Group. "2006 European mobile multimedia survey"
Forrester Research. "The advanced mobile services user paradox."
IDC. "Asia/Pacific wireless consumer survey, 2005."
NPD Group. "Mobile music: Who's listening?"
Sometimes companies tell us that we want something that we have never heard of before, and as a nation of consumers, we usually go along with it. More often than not though, we end up never using it. Come on, admit it -- how many kitchen gadgets do you have in your cabinets that you never use? Sure, the salad maker we saw on TV, the electronic potato peeler, and the ubiquitous yogurt maker sounded good at the time, but do we really use those things?
Cell phones, of course, don't fall into that category in and of themselves, and we all make use of them. But do we really use all the value-added services and features that they give us? They tell us that we want cell phones that have TVs in them, 3D graphics capability and interactive games. They convince us that we must have cell phones with GPS and mapping capability, cameras, and the ability to capture live video. And they make a strong case for offering us cell phones that have the ability to browse the Internet and send email.
Yankee Group's survey indicated that many of these value-added services face slim demand. Eleven percent of their respondents were interested in mobile TV. Sure, the idea of watching TV on your cell phone is cool, but do you really need to watch programs on a one-inch screen while you're sitting on the subway? Yankee says most people don't -- especially when they find out how much the service will cost. Similarly, picture messaging shows little demand, and many consumers avoid downloads of ringtones and other files because of concerns over security and price. Operators, facing the need to offer increasingly low rates for basic service, are depending on increasing their ARPU with these value-added services, but they still have a lot of areas to overcome before they can drive enough adoption to make them profitable.