Wireless survey shows imaging is key

The vast majority of UK respondents – three-quarters – regard MMS as exciting. The positive expectations of users in the UK and other surveyed countries mirror actual mobile multimedia usage trends in Japan where these services are more developed than in the UK and the other four countries surveyed.

Among the research’s key findings on UK perceptions was that the potential of downloadable picture-based services is greater than previously thought. UK respondents expressed great interest in downloadable services like travel information, news, games and screensavers. The study suggests that the popularity of these MMS-based services will capture traditional media spend for specific services – e.g. breaking news, travel, weather reports – from television, the Internet and other media.

Japanese multimedia usage illustrates how the proliferation of MMS phones with cameras will be critical to MMS going mass market. Amongst the Japanese respondents, over 90% of camera phone owners send multimedia messages to other camera phones; only 68% send to email accounts. For those sending MMS, it is important that they feel the recipient is able to open the image and share the moment immediately. With this in mind, Nokia has been at the forefront of bringing MMS and camera phones to the market globally. To date, Nokia has announced altogether five different phones with integrated camera and more than 15 MMS enabled color phone models.

The study highlights that in Japan respondents generally prefer richer types of services than those currently available. The Japanese research also confirmed that multimedia use is not replacing other types of mobile services. In fact, the Japanese respondents have increased their use of traditional mobile services since getting their current multimedia phone, and they expect to receive text or multimedia messages in response to multimedia messages they send. This suggests that MMS will build on and extend the successful SMS model that is helping to generate revenues for operators. The Japanese experience suggests that once MMS is adopted by users on a mass scale, it will create demand for much richer content services, paving the way for evolving 3G-based offerings.

The research supports Nokia’s conviction that MMS will rapidly evolve into a true mass-market technology for both personal and professional use.

“Consumers really want MMS and, as operators are already discovering, people are as intrigued by and eager to use MMS as SMS. What’s really interesting is how MMS looks set to broaden mobile communications use as a whole and support the creation of new kinds of picture content services,” explains Pekka Pohjakallio, Director, Mobile Internet Solutions, Nokia Networks.

“The depth of demand for MMS services is extremely good news for the industry and creates a consumer pull for more advanced 3G-based services,” he adds.

The research was carried out to gain a greater understanding of the development of the mobile data services market and of end-user attitudes towards MMS.

The study specifically looks at mobile data usage and perceptions including SMS and MMS and trends in content-to-person and person-to-person SMS and MMS services. The research used focus groups as well as a quantitative research element amongst 16 to 45 year old mobile phone users who do not yet have an MMS phone. In Japan, the research included mobile multimedia users of the same age to ascertain how multimedia-enabled phones change mobile communications behaviour. Users in all countries were surveyed about their perception of MMS and its features like photo messaging, video/audio clips and the Mobile Internet in relation to traditional media.

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