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Mobile Multimedia Gap Widening as UK Lags Behind Asia's Pioneers

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Developed Asian markets such as Japan and Korea have stormed ahead of Europe and North America in mass uptake of mobile multimedia, according to the latest TNS Global Telecoms Insights (GTI) study. Investments in infrastructure, improving network speeds, a focus on innovation and affordable flat rate data plans have made Developed Asia the world s most advanced in mobile technology adoption marching miles ahead of Britain.

The number of consumers using mobile TV features in Japan and Korea has more than doubled in the last year, rising from 14% to 32%. Similar rapid growth is observed in Hong Kong (18% to 32%). Contrastingly, mobile TV growth in the UK was considerably slower over the past year, rising from 8% to just 13%. In the US, although the number of mobile TV users have doubled in the last year, mobile TV uptake remains relatively low at 11%.

The growth of mobile TV has had such an impact on Asia’s consumers that it is now a critical driver in determining which handsets they want to purchase, but in Western markets, far fewer consumers as in Asia prioritise mobile TV when purchasing handsets (in the UK only 5%). In Korea mobile TV functions are now the single biggest driver of device choice in that market, considered important by 33% of Korean consumers in the device that they choose to purchase, well ahead of MP3 and camera. .

The latest TNS Global Telecoms Insights study also highlights the extent to which the UK is lagging behind in other advanced mobile services. In Korea and in Singapore 15% of users regularly upload video and images, compared with only 6% across Europe and the UK lagging further behind at 4%.

Stephen Yap, Group Director at TNS Technology, commented: “A number of reasons underpin the significantly higher adoption of advanced mobile technologies in Asia. Technology tends to be more aspirational for Asian consumers, who tend to be earlier adopters as a result. Early and significant investment in mobile infrastructure by industry players, and in some cases governments, have led to network capabilities that today surpass those of Europe and North America. Moreover, relatively affordable, flat-rate data plans are better established in Asia, while in Europe and the US flat-rate plans are still priced relatively highly and incremental charging for data consumption is still commonplace.”

What’s more, charging per megabyte used may actually be inhibiting revenue opportunities for operators and service providers. In the UK only 4% of consumers pay for music downloads on their mobile device, compared with 24% in Korea and 21% in Japan, meaning that by making data affordable, service providers in these markets have opened the door to incremental revenue from value-added services.

Yap continued: “Europe and North America are falling further behind developed Asia as the global centres of innovation in consumer technology. Until the industry can come together to deliver user experiences and most importantly pricing plans that encourage mass adoption of mobile data, the promise of a mobile future is still a long way away.”

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Tags: tns  mp3  music  UK