Wireless Internet market on the upswing

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The demand for wireless data and Internet services is beginning to grow rapidly, according to Cahners In-Stat Group. However, the high-tech market research firm finds that services that are successful overseas won’t necessarily catch on in the US market.

The unique attributes of individual countries, including demographics of the population and penetration of other types of technology (including wireline Internet services) can greatly impact adoption of wireless data and Internet services in each country. For example, the NTT DoCoMo iMode service that is wildly successful in Japan is unlikely to capture similar subscriber rates in the US due to high wireline Internet penetration as well as other demographic factors.

According to Becky Diercks, director of wireless research at In-Stat: “Wireless service providers can learn from the successes and failures of their colleagues’ wireless data and Internet services. Carriers must make sure to structure solutions based on a thorough understanding of users’ needs in their own markets to ensure future success.”

Despite a slow start, In-Stat predicts a bright future for wireless data and Internet services. Diercks continues: “There is high interest from business people in wireless Internet services and a significant percentage of business people plan to subscribe to wireless Internet services in the next year.”

Though business people using wireless phones do not currently have wireless Internet access, 22% plan to add this within the next year, making this the hottest growth feature in the business market.

Diercks, however, has a caution for wireless carriers in the US, as she believes that most perform a disservice to themselves and customers by marketing wireless Internet services as ‘mobile web’, ‘wireless web’ or ‘wireless Internet’.

“By calling services ‘wireless Internet’ or the like, wireless service providers infer that the wireline experience will be passed on to a handset, and that is simply not the case. Although using the term “Internet” may initially create excitement, users are likely to be turned off once they see what they are actually getting.”

In-Stat has also found that:
• One in six people that use wireless phones for business purposes have wireless data/Internet access from a handset. Of those, 55% say they use the service regularly.
• Looking forward to 2.5G and 3G services, wireless business users are more interested in higher speed access to the wireless Internet than full motion video on a handset.

Cahners In-Stat Group covers the spectrum of digital communications research from vendor to end-user, providing the analysis and perspective that allows technology vendors and service providers worldwide to make more informed business decisions.

The report, Business User Demand and Global Carrier Strategies for Wireless Internet Services (#MD0004MD), examines the devices that people want to use to wirelessly access the Internet, the price that users are willing to pay for wireless Internet access and the type of content that they would like “pushed” to them versus the kind that they would like to “pull” down from the web on an as-needed basis. For the first time, this report covers the strategies of the top global players in this market and a total of 20 carriers are profiled.


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