Research Notes

Mobile operators forget to tell their customers that they do not need a Smartphone to be able to use smart services on their mobile phone

There is currently an uncanny amount of focus on the iPhone and other smartphones, and when reading the many articles being published, a customer can easily get the impression that they need to replace their old mobile phone with a new smartphone to access many of the more or less advanced mobile services that are currently getting so much press attention.

From our vantage point it appears as if mobile operators, telephone manufacturers, mobile dealers and especially the media that are writing about the mobile market, are trying to convince customers that mobile services can only be used if you have a new and advanced smartphone. But the real world is very different and Strand Consult thinks it is a great shame that the millions of people that today own an ordinary feature phone like e.g. a Nokia series 40 phone, are not taking advantage of the many applications available for this type of phone.

We live in a time where services like Facebook, Messenger, maps, Twitter, mobile e-mail, Google search and many other services are increasingly being used from the mobile phone. We know that a great many people have purchased a new smartphone solely for the purpose of accessing one or more of these types of services – without realising that many of them could actually already access those services with their existing mobile phone.

Let’s take a look at some of the many services available on a number of feature phones currently on the market like mobile phones based on Nokia’s Series 40. In reality there is a long and impressive list of services available for these mobile phones. Below is a list of some of those services: 

  • Twitter client
  • Fring
  • Opera Mini
  • Ovi Maps
  • Google maps
  • KD Player
  • Windows Live:
  • eBuddy
  • Snaptu Twitter
  • Tube Map
  • Maji Translate
  • MobilePDF
  • Word og Excel reader
  • Dictionary
  • SMS my Position
  • Java Games.
In reality customers have a wide selection of more or less advanced services available on ordinary mobile phones. But whether all these services are being used boils down to the challenge of getting individual customers to understand the capability of their ordinary feature phone and the fact that many operators have not launched data packages for customers and mobile phones in this segment. And if anyone claims that the problem lies in that a feature phone cannot multitask, then perhaps we should remind them that nor can an iPhone – so that is no excuse either.

Strand Consult believes that mobile operators can both limit their churn and increase their data revenue if they started informing their customers about the applications already available on their existing feature phones. If they simultaneously launched data packages that ensured that customers do not get a shock when they receive their first invoice for using those services, there would be nothing preventing customers from using many more services on their existing phones. Our research from the mobile universe actually shows that there are already millions of people using ordinary mobile phones for a number of services that many others incorrectly believe require a new Smartphone.

In reality there are probably more people today using Opera Mini to access the Internet, then people with an iPhone. There is no doubt that the iPhone is a beautiful phone targeted at a niche segment. But it is a fact that for one reason or another, over 1.2 billion people chosen NOT to purchase an iPhone last year and many of those people have the possibility of using many of the most popular services on the ordinary mobile phones that most of them own today.

In Strand Consults free report that we published in the summer of 2009 “The moment of truth – a portrait of the iPhone”  we described the global market for mobile services based on figures from the Mobile Entertainment Forum and documented that there is a gigantic market that many overlook when describing Apple’s App Store and everything currently happening in the Smartphone area.
More information – The momenth of truth – a portrait of the iPhone
More information – OneAPI – Next Generation Value Added Services in the Mobile industry

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