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Customers Disuaded from Mobile Data Services by Fussy Handset Configuration

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Complexity is preventing uptake and usage of mobile applications and services, according to a survey of US and UK consumers commissioned by mobile device management (MDM) vendor, Mformation. 95% of consumers surveyed indicated that they would be more likely to try new mobile services if setup was easier. Complex setup issues are also preventing 45% of people from upgrading to new, more sophisticated mobile phones. Moreover, 61% of these mobile users say phone setup is as frustrating as changing a bank account.

"Operators and device manufacturers need to remove barriers to service uptake and unlock the true power of advanced mobile technology. The message from consumers is that phone setup is simply too complex. Clearly, this needs to be addressed," said Matthew Bancroft, Vice President, Mformation. "‘Up and running straight out-of-the-box' means exactly that, and our research shows that improving this aspect of the mobile phone purchasing experience will help to improve profitability for many players in our industry."

65% of respondents agreed that mobile operators are losing out, as people will not buy a new phone because of the time it takes to set up. Indeed, 78% say they would change their handsets more regularly if the setup process was less painful. The situation is further compounded when it comes to the use of advanced revenue-generating mobile applications and services, with 88% agreeing that they would use these services more if setup were less painful. Basic services such as email (46%), Internet browsing (40%), instant messaging (30%) and picture messaging (29%) are among the top applications and services that people find don't always work when they first switch on their phone. As a result, 61% have stopped using mobile applications because they cannot solve problems with them.

"Subscribers are clearly convinced of the value of mobile services," added Bancroft. "However, 85% of the people we surveyed find it frustrating to have to go through a number of steps when they want to activate a service or application. It's a bit like getting a new gadget, then finding that the batteries aren't included. Providing mobile subscribers with a more seamless experience will remove these pains."

On average, people feel it should take no longer than 15 minutes to set up a new mobile phone and feel confident it is working. However, at the moment the average time is nearly an hour.

The survey highlighted one straightforward example of how setup of a new phone can be dramatically improved. With over three quarters (78%) of consumers saying they are worried about losing mobile data when changing handsets, 96% see value in a service that automatically copies numbers, content and other data from an old phone to a new one.

The research was undertaken by independent research house Coleman Parkes, which asked 4,000 people in the UK and US about problems related to mobile usage.

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