Mobile internet – progress watch

By August 18, 2008 4 Comments

There is some interesting data on Mobhappy about the take-up of the mobile web here in the UK. As ever I will comment on a couple of highlights, and you should read the full post (or even the Ofcom survey it reports on) for the details.

First off – SMS revenues still dwarf data revenues – £2.7bn versus £1bn in 2007. This is interesting in the context of some of the chatter about Twitter’s decision last week to axe free SMS updates in Europe. People were reflecting on how absurd it is that we are still paying operators 5p per message (or whatever it is) when all they have to do is move a tiny amount of data. What makes it even more absurd is that services like IM which are in theory superior are effectively free to use within a flat rate data package. The fact that SMS revenues are 2.7x data revenues is interesting because it makes clear the dilemma that operators face – if they are too successful promoting the mobile web they will cannibalise their SMS revenues. For context voice revenues were £11.4bn in 2007.

Second – there is contradictory data around, but from this survey it appears that there isn’t much growth in use of the mobile web:

The report … cites data saying that just 5 percent of internet users age 15 and above used the internet on a “portable device” in Q108, unchanged from the previous year.

This is surprising to me given the launch of the iPhone in Q42007 and what I hear anecdotally.