Mobile internet growth strong in the UK says Vodafone
Vodafone has declared Britain the “most digitally advanced” country in Europe according to an article in the Telegraph.
Vittorio Colao, chief executive, said Britain’s “digital citizens” are much more up to date with the latest technology than mainland Europeans.
Vodafone said 70pc of new customers signing up for a contract in the UK demand a smartphone, such as an iPhone, compared with just four in 10 in Europe.
Another interesting statistic from the Vodafone results was their global data revenue is now £5Bn, and this has exceeded messaging (sms/mms) revenue for the first time.
Vodafone has also reported that data revenue is up 27.2% “led by higher smartphone penetration and data attach rates in Europe”.
This surprised me somewhat, but in a good way. The largest inhibitor to mobile social media use will be the data tariffs that operator charge.
Many a time I have asked someone if they use the internet on their mobile, to be told no. When you ask the same person if they use Facebook on their mobile, they say “yes all the time”.
We know that the two are the same thing but consumers see social networks as the hero and something they want to access regularly without being charged an outrageous fee.
In some markets such as Australia, there is a big push to promote unlimited* access to sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, MySpace and Facebook.
Data prices must come down to drive mobile data take-up
The UK is probably one of the most competitive markets for mobile internet, with the benchmark being 1GB/month for around £10 (~$16) a month.
On my recent trip to the US, AT&T charged me $20 for 100MB on my handset, and the best bulk data deal I could manage (pre-paid) was $50 for 1GB.
In Australia, Telstra will give you 12GB a month for just $69 which puts the AT&T plan to shame.
The best UK deal seems to be from Three, who offer on their one plan truly unlimited data for £25 (~$40) a month as well as calls and texts.
I can’t browse for long – how much is this costing me?
I no-longer overhear people in the street say “I can’t talk for long, I’m on the mobile”, thanks to the generous voice allowances in most plans today. What we do need is reasonably priced and easy to understand data plans, so that more consumers jump onto the mobile internet as a part of their daily mobile use.
At a recent workshop in London I conducted for a large bank, I queried the 15+ people around the table as to who used the internet on their mobile. The show of hands surprised me – most of them are already doing this, so it seems we are heading in the right direction.