Clueless Australians ignore 3G, says report

When it comes to 3G technology, Australians are clueless, reports a recent study from IDC on the Australian consumer mobile market.

Despite third-generation mobile services being available for over 2 years, only three percent of the 18.4 million Australian mobile users have adopted the technology.

"Resellers and partners need to position and educate the market instead of just offering capped plans," said IDC Australia's research manager for wireless solutions, Warren Chaisatien. "They need to exploit the technology that 3G offers."

The IDC report highlighted a strong shift of mobile technology into the consumer market, noting that over 50 percent of mobile phones are camera equipped, and 25 percent have MP3 playback functionality.

Telstra and Hutchison dominate the 3G market, operating on a shared GSM network. Telstra also runs 3G services on its CDMA network using 1xEvDO technology that targets business users, but so far the technology has only attracted 20,000 users.

According to Chaisatien, the looming introduction of Optus and Vodafone into the 3G marketplace will result in a stronger consumer focus and a drop in price.

"Vodafone is well positioned to enter the market and establish itself in this space," Chaisatien said. "Vodafone has been associated strongly with the youth market, which is where 3G will be heading."

Chaisatien emphasised that organizations must raise the profile of their brands before entering the mobile market place.

"The biggest draw card for 3G capable phones is its potential for innovative applications, such as interactive maps and even the possibility of e-commerce," he said. "So far, none of the 3G operators have educated the marketplace that these advancements are possible."

With the introduction of Vodafone and Optus, Chaisatien believes the share of 3G services in the mobile market will grow to 6 percent by December, as existing operators battle for market dominance and offer lower price points.

"There needs to be public awareness that these devices are shifting from voice communication devices to personal multimedia tools," Chaisatien said.

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