Mobile Broadband And E-Mail Consuming Americans--And They Like It

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 2 2009 10:23 AM
We've already learned that Wi-Fi is more important than food within an airport, and we've seen just how popular in-flight Internet has become, so it's not at all surprising to hear that Americans are eating up mobile broadband and e-mail services. In a new consumer study entitled "Mobile Convergence: Platforms, Applications, and Services," conducted by Parks Associates, we're told that "adoption of non-text mobile data services has exceeded 40% of the more than 70 million U.S. broadband households with a mobile phone service."

Just sit back and think on that. That's a pretty fascinating figure. During the worst recession since the Great Depression, it seems as if Americans were looking to upgrade to smartphones and data services rather than ditching the mobiles to save money. Granted, our society has become one that expects you to be relatively connected at all times, so we're sure that has something to do with all of this. The research went on to find the following:
Over one-fourth of mobile service users have adopted mobile Internet and e-mail services, eclipsing other mobile data ARPU drivers like mobile TV and music, indicating that carriers will have to win subscribers through more "practical" services first. The fast adoption of mobile social networking and navigation services, which have both exceeded 10%, also indicates carriers can be successful in deploying popular Web activities as revenue-generating data services on the mobile platform."

What's somewhat comical is that text messages are actually really expensive when paid for per-text, but even that doesn't seem to be the focus of carriers. They want data plan subscribers, and as smartphones mature into fully capable, mini PC systems, that demand is all but certain to increase. There's also the increase in usage of social networks, which obviously require a data connection to send updates to. It's possible that the fear of being disconnected for too long is driving the uptick, with one analyst also noting that smartphone penetration is to thank.

If you're a smartphone user currently, were you just five years ago? Could you ever go back to a data-free lifestyle now that you've converted?
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I agree it's very interesting that despite the recession being connected is a high priority. It really speaks volumes about the direction that social networking and quick access to information has taken us.

I was a smartphone users (Treo 650) for some time but then actually "downgraded" to a non-smart phone - but I just found ways to use it smarter. I was frustrated at the time with the Treo crashing a lot and wanted to be sure my phone could "make a call" which was it's primary purpose. I opted for a smaller Samsung phone (the Alias) but thanks so a switch to Google for mail and calendaring and the mobile email client and WAP browser in that phone (along with a full keyboard) I was able to still have instant access to my mail, calendar, and many websites without the need for a smart phone. After seeing an iPhone I was hooked however but didn't want to switch from Verizon to AT&T - so I got an iPod Touch being that I am frequently in areas that have wi-fi and now use that as my primary portable data device.

I am tempted by the Droid - but am holding out a bit longer to see if the iPhone makes it's way to Verizon as many suspect it will. I feel the smartphones have improved greatly and now I am ready to consider switching back to one device to rule them all - but I love my iPod Touch and right now it suits my mobile needs fine (with no need to pay extra for a data package).

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Dec 3 2009 11:55 AM

>> and wanted to be sure my phone could "make a call" which was it's primary purpose.

I'm with you there.

I find it ridiculous that the menus in my phone are designed such that clicking the defaults without changing selections takes me into menus to buy overpriced ring-tones, whereas I have to actually navigate to the address book if I wanted to make a call.

Vendors: Don't call it a phone if it's actually a device meant to sell you IP and services first and a phone second.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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rapid1 replied on Thu, Dec 3 2009 2:56 PM

This is one thing I have been talking about for a while. The general public is more and more connected 24/7. So devices as has been seen will lean harder and harder in that direction. With the opening of the e-reader market, and the netbook laptop market growth we have seen for several years now, the US at least is heading farther in this direction. I ps.ersonally think the tablet PC, or a combination smart phone, e-reader, netbook super device in a small transportable form is the direction, as can obviously be seen by these result's.

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