Wednesday, January 16, 2008

State of the mobile phone industry

It's remarkably positive, with enormous growth in all sectors. In South Korea, users replace phones every six months, coinciding with fall and spring fashions. In Britain, young urban professionals are increasingly obtaining two phones each. In Japan, mobile internet access is close to overtaking PC-based internet access. And in Australia, SMS is reported to be as addictive as smoking -- and globally, it is taking its place in the set of media available to users, with its own usage expectations:
And why is SMS text messaging so addictive? it is the most discrete (secret) form of communication and it is also the fastest way to communicate. It is preferred by kids in school attempting to cheat in class to busy business executives who need something more powerful than wireless email on a Blackberry. A May 2007 survey by 160 Characters found that 84% of active users of SMS text messaging expect a reply within 5 minutes !!! On email we're happy to get a reply within 24 hours. On voicemail who knows if we ever get a reply. Like we've reported, even the Finnish Prime Minister says on his voicemail recording, don't leave me voicemail, send me SMS. Or how about the Finnish libraries who send alerts via SMS and the Finnish dentists who replace cancelled appointments via SMS. One in five London car drivers pays the congestion charge by mobile phone using SMS text messaging. One in two Helsinki public transportation user pay for the single tram tickets using SMS text messaging. Or the heavy users, 10% of British students thumb out 100 SMS text messages per day - in South Korea 30% of students average 100 SMS text messages sent per day. What is the global average? 2.6 SMS messages sent per day. The leading countries, Singapore users average 12 per day and phone owners in the Philippines are the world leaders averaging 15 SMS sent per day. Even laggard USA is following in lock-step with this growth curve and now USA cellphone owners average over 1 SMS sent per day. (My emphasis)
Besides Huatong Sun, no one in writing studies appears to be studying SMS use in earnest. That has to change.
Communities Dominate Brands: When there is a mobile phone for half the planet: Understanding the biggest technology

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