The Financial Barrier To Mobile Web Services

Mark Walsh writes for Online Media Daily that cost is the biggest barrier to mobile web – I’d have to agree with them on that one. If in terms of mobile phone usage I could count the amount of times on one hand that I used my mobile for web and rss access while away recently in Canada and I can tell you that the figures on the phone bill aren’t coming in singles – O2 nicely roasting me in the run up to Christmas, cheers.

Of course, my gripe there is with roaming charges. When it comes to accessing anything subscription based like ringtones, video etc. I’ll find them online myself, upload them to me own server and have them accessible to the mobile should I need them on the move – or better still, just download them straight to the phone via the bluetooth dongle or data cable. But thats just me and I can tell you now that majority of people with mobile phones wouldn’t have a clue what about anything I just mentioned.

I am, therefore, avoiding the costs.

The biggest complaint of 38.5% of mobile consumers was that data services are “too expensive.”

Data services in general in the Irish market are too high. GPRS charges are extortionate, as are 3G rates, monthly subscriptions and more. One way to alleviate this, as is currently being done in the UK and US is to attach adverts to data services, such as video subscriptions. Hell, I don’t mind sitting through a 15-30 second ad on my phone if its going to cut a huge chunk of my charges. Other people however, don’t see it like that.

…consumers were asked to indicate how willing they would be to accept three ads a day in return for half-priced data services or content. Rating on a scale from one (very willing) to seven (very unwilling), the average was 2.45. Only 6% of respondents said they were “very willing” to accept advertising in return for lower service costs. About 16% indicated at least some openness to advertising.

Of course, we get pummeled with ads on the TV but it does nothing about the ever-rising TV license fees. Still, if you were a heavy user of mobile web services and data services, would you not be willing to accept a short ad in exchange for a nice reduction on your monthly charges?

Fair play to O2 for bringing in flat-rate GPRS charges but I think its too little too late for some of the bigger roamers and subscribers in the country…