Spend to hit €7.6bn... and that's without the porn...According to new research, mobile content downloading is hot. Europeans can't get enough of it but we're a little unsure if we're going to be getting any more next year.
Over the course of the coming 12 months, the market for mobile content, excluding pornography, is set to treble to €7.6bn, a report from LogicaCMG has found, as an increasing number of global consumers lose their mobile download virginity.
Around one-fifth of mobile users worldwide have downloaded content via their phone to date - and that figure is expected to rise to 60 per cent in the next 12 months.
Europeans are currently mobile content's big spenders, splurging an average of €8.41 on mobile content per month, compared to the worldwide average of €6.32. However, consumers are split as to whether more pocket money will be siphoned off the operators' way - 40 per cent of those surveyed by LogicaCMG said they expected the average month's spend to rise in the next 12 months.
Ringtones, games and music are the favourite content types, with news and sports also gaining ground. A separate survey recently predicted such 'infotainment' will hit $4.5bn by the year 2007.
Despite predictions of consumers happily blowing their micro-payments on content, the spread of broadband still looms large on the mind of the market.
But as to whether it's going to be a help or a hindrance to the mobile world, opinions are split.
Broadband download speeds, for example, have contributed to consumers getting spoiled. According to Richard Horton, T-Mobile's VP of content services, eight per cent of UK consumers will abandon a transaction midway because they don't have the patience to see the download through.
"I don't think technology is the problem, I think people's expectations of technology are the problem," Horton said.
For consumers in areas with no broadband penetration, however, phones can open up new services.
Paul Gleeson, LogicaCMG COO, said: "Where you have an economy where DSL isn't very advanced... users could still download films over 3G" and then play them on a PC.
Mike Short, chairman of the Mobile Data Association, said he expected pricing models to change as a result of users becoming accustomed to broadband and all-you-can-eat data packages that go with it. "I think it will be reflected on pricing models going forward," he said.