Monday, March 30th, 2009
m.Net Corporation, Australia’s leading mobile marketing company, today released the Australian results of the 2008 Worldwide Mobile Data Service (MDS) Study, revealing growth in the number of Australians using their mobile phone for a wider range of products and services.

The study, conducted in November 2008, found that 97 per cent of Australians surveyed used their mobile phone for more than just voice. Of these respondents, 61% had used information type services in the last full month, 57% had used entertainment type services, 99% had used communication type services and 31% had used their mobile phone to make a purchase like movie tickets. The survey results also saw an increase in the take-up of mobile-based email, video, chat, financial information and social networking.

m.Net Corporation defines MDS as “all the digital data services that you access through your mobile phone excluding voice calls”. This includes purchasing, communications, information and entertainment.

m.Net Research Director, Dr Marisa Maio Mackay, said Australians are “growing up” as a mobile society..

“What we’re seeing is a greater reliance on mobile phones as the platform for a broad range of data services. Over half the survey group owned a 3G or 3.5G phone and over 70 per cent said they used a service other than simple communications like texting or MMS,” she said.

“There’s also been a drop off in the use of “comfort services” like ringtones and wallpapers, with Australians instead being much more willing to pay for access to mobile data, reflecting the increased value they place on these services,” Dr Maio Mackay explained.

Other key findings from the study include:
• Those that visited a website increased from 41 per cent in 2007 to 49 per cent in 2008;
• Mobile Internet searches increased from 23 per cent in 2007 to 30 per cent in 2008;
• Take-up of mobile email grew from 26 per cent in 2007 to 34 per cent in 2008;
• Fifty per cent of those that used MDS in 2008 used mobile chat, a 120 per cent hike from the previous year;
• Mobile access to financial data jumped 60 per cent from 10 per cent (2007) to 16 per cent (2008);
• Mobile access to social networking grew 50 per cent from 10 per cent to 15 per cent;
• Thirty-three per cent used MDS for over 30 minutes per week, up by 120 per cent from 15 per cent in 2007;
• Sixty-four per cent of Australian respondents were willing to pay more than $10 per month for unlimited mobile data access, up from zero per cent the previous year;
• Australians are becoming more savvy in how they access mobile data, with the proportion of users who typed in a URL dropping from 54 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2008;
• Australians are beginning to truly recognise and acknowledge how the use of the mobile phone can tie into their everyday lives: 41% of respondents were interested in mobile banking, 44% were interested in the ability to pay for things with their mobile phone and 31% of respondents were interested in using community sites.

Australia Lags US in Intensity of MDS Use
The study showed that Australians lagged behind American mobile phone users in the intensity of their usage, with US respondents to the global study using a wider range of data services for much longer periods of time than Australians.

“Americans are far more intense and active users than Australians and have really embraced mobile data services in the past few years, partly thanks to ‘all you can use’ fixed pricing plans and the resolution of early network issues,” said Dr Maio Mackay.

“While Australians have transitioned from a small group of high level users to a medium group of medium level users over many years, the American market has gone from a small group of high level users to a large group of high level users in just a few years,” she said.

The Worldwide Mobile Data Services Survey
The Worldwide Mobile Data Services Survey is an annual study involving a consortium of universities, industry partners and research institutions located around the world. The Australian leg of the study, conducted in November 2008, canvassed around 2,000 respondents from a broad cross-section of employment, education, living status and income. The results can be generalised to the 18-50 age group. Of the sample group, 53 per cent owned a 3G or 3.5G phone and the most popular modes of bill payment were capped monthly plan (42 per cent), pre-paid (32 per cent) and uncapped monthly plan (14 per cent).

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The study of 2000 Australians found 97 percent uses their mobiles for more than just voice. More stats in the release.



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