Fear of huge bills prevents mobile-internet takeup

The Mobile Data Association has warned that operators need to address consumers' concerns in order to accelerate the growth of mobile-internet use

Mobile internet is in need of a boost from operators if it is to take off in the UK, where consumer fears of massive bills is hampering adoption.

That's according to the Mobile Data Association (MDA), whose latest mobile trends report has found mobile internet has grown by 25 percent in the past two years.

But MDA chairman, Steve Reynolds, said mobile operators need to address a number of issues in order to accelerate the growth of mobile internet use.

He said there needs to be "greater price transparency on the costs associated with using the mobile internet".

He explained that many consumers are confused and concerned about costs of using mobile internet, and so are holding back as a result.

Once these issues have been addressed, the MDA predicts mobile internet will become a true rival to desktop internet access with a 20 percent growth expected in 2009.

The research also found that 1.4 billion SMS messages are sent in the UK per week with a 30 percent increase expected during 2008.

Reynolds said: "Text messaging has been without question one of the great success stories of the mobile age both for the industry and consumer."

But he added that other services — such as IM or mobile email — could compete if mobile operators encourage adoption by simplifying setup and access.

The MDA suggests mobile data usage will continue to grow as mobile operators offer increasingly inclusive tariffs combined with lower roaming charges.