Punters 'don't need' wireless data services

That's what they're telling Yankee Group

Despite the best efforts of the wireless operators across the globe, interest in the value add next generation data services remains worryingly low. In its latest study of the wireless market, industry experts Yankee Group has found that few people use wireless data services today and few see the value of these services in the future.

It's clear that the number of wireless data users across the world is increasing, if slowly. The Yankee Group found that approximately 18% of wireless network users have used wireless data services. But that still leaves 82% who haven't used such services and it doesn't look like they want to either.

When the Yankee Group asked this large grouping why they don't use wireless data services they got a damning response. 42% said that they simply didn't need them. To an intelligent industry, that's a comment that will be received with the response, '..that's because we haven't told them they need them yet.' The problem this time around is that the industry has told everyone they need these services - and everyone still isn't interested.

Even those whoe are interested in wireless data services are not convinced. Sixteen per cent say that wireless data services is too expensive and 6 per cent that they are just too complicated. It's not getting any easier is it?

To many, the idea of the wireless Internet being laughable, as it was last year, has been washed away. The wireless operators have done an excellent job of ignoring this issue, and they've stopped pretending that they can deliver such excellent services and are instead focusing on today's deliverables. For instance, the hype right now is about colour handsets, which are good and reliable, digital cameras and the transmission of these images, which again is pretty good, works well and isn't too costly.

This is good. It helps manage expectations and gives a steady, staged delivery of good services rather than having people think about the things that the wireless operators can't deliver. Next-up will be the Multimedia Messaging Services and a raft of further developments, instant messaging etc, which again should be easily and well executed. While doing this, the operators are gradually piecing together the technologies for the future, handsets, networks etc, enabling them to, eventually, deliver on the promise of the wireless web.

It is only through such a strategy of message and product delivery that the wireless operators will ever get over this gaping problem of perception.

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