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They just love their ringtones…

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3GSM M:metrics’ first comparison of German, UK and US use of mobile content shows that US consumers are far from being the mobile laggards they are often portrayed as.

In the last quarter of 2005 9.7 per cent of US mobile subscribers downloaded a ringtone compared to 7.1 per cent of Brits and 7 per cent of Germans. But 4.1 per cent of UK users had downloaded a game in the period of the survey compared to 3.3 per cent of Americans and 2 per cent of Germans.

Mark Donovan, VP of products and senior analyst at m:metrics, told the Register: “Only 3 per cent of US users get games but between June and December last year that grew 73 per cent. As big media brands get into this and off-portal increases this will grow and grow – 2006 is going to be a very disruptive year.”

The research also compared how 2G and 3G customers behave. For activities like instant messaging, downloading games and buying ringtones 3G users are about twice as likely to get involved as those on 2G.

But there is one difference – 3G users are nine times more likely to view video clips as those on 2G networks. Much of that content is sport, according to Paul Goode, senior analyst at m:metrics, although he said the structure of the survey made it likely that porn was under-reported.

It seems 12.8 per cent of UK 3G subscribers have viewed video compared to 1.4 per cent of 2G subscribers. German punters show a similar enthusiasm with 7.9 per cent of 3G users watching video in the quarter compared to 0.6 per cent of 2G users.

Europe and the UK still lead the US in text messaging. But the US leads in use of instant messaging – 6.3 per cent of US users had used it in the last quarter of 2005 compared with 3.1 per cent of Brits and 2.5 per cent of Germans.

M:metrics carried out the survey in the last three months of 2005. They spoke to 21,000 people in Germany, the same in the UK and 35,000 in the US. More details available here http://www.mmetrics.com/press/PressRelease.aspx?article=20060207-eurolaunch

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