3G technology fails to excite consumers

Although 72% of the UK population owns a mobile phone, few people are interested in third-generation mobile services, according...

Although 72% of the UK population owns a mobile phone, few people are interested in third-generation mobile services, according to research conducted for Computer Weekly.

The survey of more than 1,000 people by ICM Research found that UK consumers are steering clear of new technologies such as digital interactive television and 3G mobile networks.

It also revealed that 82% of existing mobile phone users are not interested in GPRS, the stepping-stone to 3G.

IT departments in consumer-facing businesses have been keen to assess the public uptake of 3G and other nascent technologies to guide them on which of these media their companies should use to service customers.

Gary Muncaster, head of new media at ICM Research, said, "It is difficult for people to understand the concept of 3G." ICM found that when respondents were given an explanation of 3G, 37% said they would be interested or in the technology.

The high cost of handsets and line rental charges also contributed to people's apathy towards 3G technology.

Muncaster believes multimedia messaging could drive the adoption of 3G. "The success of SMS shows that multimedia messaging could be the way ahead," he said. Previous research conducted by ICM found that consumers showed an interest in downloading ring tones, music and sending and receiving digital photos. All of these benefit from 3G mobile technology, which offers high bandwidth to accelerate uploads and downloads of files.

Digital interactive television was another technology that fared poorly in the survey. Only 3% of respondents have used an interactive financial service through their TVs, and only 7% have used it for e-mail.

Click here for full survey >>

ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1002 adults aged 18-plus by telephone between 28-30 June 2002.

Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

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