Data use is increasing at a rapid pace as tablets, smartphones and applications saturate the wireless space, according to the results of Oracle's "Opportunity Calling: The Future of Mobile Communications-Take Two" report, which surveyed more than 3,000 mobile phone consumers worldwide to examine their mobile phone use habits, interest in new mobile technologies and expectations for service providers.
The report found data is clearly in demand, as 69 percent of global mobile phone users report using a smartphone and 47 percent of mobile users have increased their data usage in the past year-a larger percentage than text or voice. Results also suggest technology is outpacing expectations: In 2010, more than 50 percent of respondents thought their mobile phone would replace their camera, MP3 player or GPS device within five years. By 2011, 43 percent of respondents already replaced their camera, 34 percent their MP3 player and 24 percent their GPS device with their mobile phone.
Consumer demand for applications is growing significantly, according to the report, as 55 percent of respondents have downloaded a free app and 25 percent have paid for an app on their mobile device. In the last three years, users downloaded more than 300,000 mobile applications 10.9 billion times, an IDC report noted. In addition, demand for apps is spreading from phones to other mobile devices, particularly tablets. Fifty-seven percent of respondents already own a tablet device or plan to purchase one in the next 12 months.
"Customer demands continue to evolve rapidly," said Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Communications. "To maintain a competitive advantage, communications service providers must invest in information technology solutions that provide them the most flexibility and agility, enabling them to rapidly deliver innovative services or to adopt new business models as new opportunities arise."
While consumers are becoming more comfortable with location-based services and online banking, they have security concerns. Sixty-eight percent of respondents do not believe, or are unsure, information stored or transmitted from their mobile device is secure. Despite security concerns, the report suggested consumers are adopting mobile purchasing habits, and more consumers are continuing to leverage their mobile devices for retail activities.
The report found 30 percent of mobile phone users comparison-shop on their mobile device, while 24 percent read customer reviews and 14 percent have scanned a QR code in an advertisement or article. But, when it comes to shopping for phones, 84 percent of respondents said they prefer to purchase them in-store. Customers are also more willing to share their location with mobile apps than they were one year ago, and a greater number are using their phones to access online banking or make online purchases.
"Providers also have an enormous opportunity to enhance their customer relationships by engaging with them at every touch point, leveraging their dynamic role in consumers' shopping experience, and providing valuable information about usage, new services and mobile security," Gorti said.
The survey is a complement to Oracle's first study, "Opportunity Calling: The Future of Mobile Communications," which was released in September 2010.