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Value-Add Services Ignored by Mobile Users

According to Harris Interactive, U.S. wireless service providers apparently are not convincing subscribers to send pictures and videos with their cell phone. Among mobile users 39 percent have used text messaging; less than half that number, or 18 percent have sent pictures, and only three percent have tried sending video clips. Over half (58 percent) of mobile users state they have not used any of these services.

Surprisingly, cost is not the biggest obstacle to using these services, as only 19 percent of those who say they do not use any of the services cite that as a reason. Interestingly, the majority (73 percent) of those who have not used these services just don't see a need to.

"The ability to send pictures and videos over your cell phone is a lot like owning a pet rock," states Joe Porus, Chief Architect and Vice President for the Technology Practice at Harris Interactive. "At first it might seem like a good idea, but then the 'why?' enters your mind. Wireless marketers are facing a brick wall of resistance from many subscribers respecting these services. The wall is not cost, but a more fundamental question of need."

When it comes to the use of text and picture messaging, text messaging is used substantially more by users aged 18 to 39, compared to their older counter parts. While about one-third (32 percent) of young people use picture messaging, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of mobile users 18 to 39 years use text-messaging services. Contrastingly, only 35 percent of mobile users aged 40 to 54 have used text messaging. An even smaller number (13 percent) of them have used picture messaging. This number decreases even more with mobile users aged 55 and over, with 14 percent use text messaging and only eight percent using picture messaging.

Most notable is the lack of the video messaging use, which is substantially low across the board in all age groups. Very small percentages of younger adults have not used this service with only four percent of those aged 18 to 39 saying they have used video clip messaging, and only two percent of adults ages 40 to 54 and those aged 55 and older stating they have used this service.

There are several factors that may impact a decision to use these services, but the majority just does not see a need (73 percent). Other factors such as cost (19 percent), lack of knowledge (14 percent), played a slightly smaller role. Others say the services are too complicated (8 percent) or say there was some "other" (5 percent) reason. This survey was conducted online within the United States between May 1 to 8, 2006 among 1,332 adults (aged 18 and over).

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