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

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?