Australians fired up about mobile services

M-commerce may have earned itself a bad name in Europe, but Australians are keeping faith

A new survey has revealed that Australians are leading the world in anticipation of m-commerce.

The survey, conducted by Ericsson's ConsumerLab, showed that 36 percent of Australian mobile users have a strong interest in banking over their mobile phone, making it the fourth most anticipated mobile service. This figure rises to 71 percent when the 'early adopters' segment is looked at. Twenty eight percent of mobile users also showed a strong interest in using their mobile phone to make small payments.

Neither of these services rated in the top 10 anticipated services of worldwide mobile users.

Tim Batten, general manager of m-commerce for Mobile Corporation, believes m-commerce is set to take off in Australia. "From a technical point of view there's not much inhibiting take-off," he told ZDNet Australia. "You need to get the business relationships in place and come up with a proposition that works from a business point of view."

Mobile recently teamed up with Cosmos to release Pay Today, an SMS-based billing system. "For a mass-market application to reach anyone on any carrier with any handset, SMS has to be the medium of choice," Batten said, adding that any application for m-commerce has to take into account the awkward nature of typing messages on a mobile phone, and must be able to deal with a situation where the message is not delivered, or arrives after a few days.

Other m-commerce services that scored highly were emergency location (65 percent), alarm signal in the case of a break-in (53), maps (37 percent) and remote control of home (35 percent).

"People are prepared to pay for things they can't get through other electronic means," said Nicole Lampe, market research manager at Ericsson Australia about the findings of the survey.

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