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Mobile internet is still a turn-off

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Most punters still find mobile internet usage to be a frustrating experience they'd rather avoid.

Despite investment by operators in services such as i-mode and Vodafone Live, 73 per cent of respondents to a new survey said don't access the net from their mobile. Slow-loading pages (38 per cent) and navigation difficulties (27 per cent) were among the reasons cited why people would rather hook up to the net using a PC rather than a phone. A quarter (25 per cent of sites were unavailable to those with mobile phones.

The survey of 1500 UK consumers, commissioned by hosting firm Hostway, also found that surfing habits varied depending on how people got online. People were content to browse using a PC than when accessing the net from a phone, where they often wanted to find a specific piece of information. Slightly more consumers would rather access maps (49 per cent) than read news and sport (47 per cent) from their phones.

"At the moment, most websites just aren't flexible enough to be accessed on mobile phones," said Neil Barton, a director of Hostway. "There's nothing wrong with having a flash website with all the bells and whistles you can muster, but you've got to be aware that mobile users simply aren't going to be able to access it. The research illustrates that even if people do wait for sites to load, quite often it's impossible to actually get at the content itself because of the way that sites are built."

The study suggested that users aren't inherently adverse about using the net on the move. Nine in ten said they'd use mobile internet services providing they could be sure that pages would load faster and they'd avoid high charges.

Basic services created the most interest. Survey respondents said that if they could access services quickly, simply and cheaply they would want to access their email on the move (71 per cent) with around half saying that they would also access news and sport (47 per cent) from their mobile. ®

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