IDC Survey: Americans Complain Mobile Data Services Too Expensive

Americans are big spenders of entertainment content and services for consumer electronics, but they show less enthusiasm for purchasing mobile phone entertainment services, according to an IDC survey.  72.5% of respondents did not use any data services outside of messaging in the third quarter of 2006.

Steep prices are one of the main reasons Americans are not jumping to subscribe to entertainment services for their wireless mobile devices. According to IDC's survey, 47% of respondents complained that mobile data services are 'too expensive.' 

"The fact that four out of ten survey respondents feel they are overpaying for data services does not bode well for the future of this market," says Lewis Ward, research manager for IDC's Mobile Consumer Services: Entertainment program. 

In contrast to entertainment services, mobile messaging services, especially short message service (SMS), are much more popular among the consumers surveyed by IDC. 

  • 47% of survey respondents indicate that they sent or received at least one SMS message in 3Q06. 
  • SMS subscription plans have already surpassed the 50% mark, and American consumers spend an average of $3.70 per month for data services. 
  • Survey respondents indicated that about a quarter of all SMS messages in 3Q06 were alerts, showing the popularity of such services.
  • About one fifth of consumers purchased at least one ringtone in the quarter, 
  • About one in ten bought a graphic/wallpaper or a game. 

The IDC study, U.S. Wireless Teen and Adult Consumer Entertainment Survey, 3Q06: Age, Device Type, and ARPU Segmentation, contains analysis of a survey of 2,506 U.S. teenagers and adult consumer wireless subscribers and customers (mean age: 36.2) fielded in August 2006. It explores relative adoption, spending, and usage levels among common types of messaging (SMS, MMS, IM, consumer email), content (ringtones, graphics/wallpapers, games, and simple applications) and other emerging services types such TV/video, Web/WAP usage, full-track music and streaming radio, ringback tones, and more. The data herein is further segmented by age group, device type, and ARPU range. Detailed analysis is associated with each of the 39 tables, and recommendations based on the results are included.

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