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Thursday, November 23, 2006

GSMA survey & MMS.... maybe not as bad as my initial reaction suggested

I have to say I've become deeply wary of missives from the GSMA recently - there's certainly been plenty of blinkered & unrealistic 2003-vintage "mobile rules!" hype of late. So the latest one about "Strong global demand for MMS and mobile email" raised my eyebrows as well, especially as it's based on a consumer survey, described with minimal detail in the press release.

Now, leaving aside the fact that the GSMA clearly refers to mobile email through gritted teeth, as it's usually delivered via a BlackBerry or other non-operator server, the results look more or less fair enough. Obviously SMS is at #1 in terms of preference, but I'll admit that I'm a bit surprised that MMS rates so highly, especially above web browsing/search. The survey will make unhappy reading for mobile TV advocates too, and notable by their absence are any mention of music downloads, push-to-talk, community-type services, ringtones or presence. The fact that nobody is remotely interested in video calls should surprise nobody.

Given my general skepticism about consumer surveys, I asked for a bit more detail on the methodology. In terms of demographic breakdown it seems reasonable, although the fact that the survey is web-based will tend to be a bit self-selecting, even in markets where Internet penetration is high. I have a suspicion that people who can be bothered to fill in web survey forms are probably, on average, geekier/techier than the population as a whole.

What is clearly nonsense, however, is some of the phrasing in the release. The idea that MMS is "indispensable" for more than 40% of consumers is farcical. 800 million people couldn't live without photo messaging? I challenge any of the readers of this post to name just three MMS-addicts from their personal acquaintances, friends, or family.

I guess the line "40% of users who can be bothered to fill in a web survey form find MMS vaguely entertaining when they're drunk & taking stupid pictures of their mates in the pub" wouldn't have quite the same ring to it....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know my mobile email provider http://www.movamail.com seems to be doing quite well. They started offering mobile email to the mass consumer market last year. Users can access all their current email services including Webmail (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc) POP, and IMAP from any java-enabled phone. They have over 2.0m downloads and active users in over 200 countries. So if Movamail is any indication the mobile email market seems to be growing quite nicely.