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Survey: Australia lags Asia in WAP usage

A survey of eight countries shows that while Australia has high mobile phone, Internet and PC penetration, it is lagging Asia in WAP usage, primarily due to a lack of broadband services and 3G technologies.

A survey of eight countries shows that while Australia has high mobile phone, Internet and PC penetration, it is lagging Asia in WAP usage, primarily due to a lack of broadband services and 3G technologies.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--Market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres Interactive (TNS Interactive) has released results of Internet and Wireless Application Protocol trends in the Asia Pacific region.

Hong Kong leads the region in mobile phone ownership (83 per cent), followed by Taiwan (79 per cent), Japan (77 per cent) and Australia (69 per cent), according to TNS Interactive.

The results show that currently 57 per cent of the adult population in the region has a mobile phone while 14 per cent have WAP function. Japan has the highest WAP phone ownership (44 per cent of total population), followed by Korea (21 per cent) and Taiwan (16 per cent).

Despite having high mobile phone, Internet and PC penetration, the survey showed Australia has lower than average WAP penetration (4 per cent).

The data also found 17 per cent of all respondents said that they would be "very likely" or "quite likely" to buy a WAP phone in the next 12 months. Purchase intent was only 7 per cent in Australia compared to 26 per cent in Japan.

Nokia leads the mobile and WAP phone market in Asia Pacific, followed by Panasonic and Motorola.

"The average income earner has a mobile phone, and throughout Asia Pacific the number of WAP phone users is likely to increase, given that mobile phones bring together the convenience of surfing and shopping on the Net whilst on the move," said Martin James, Managing Director, TNS Interactive Australia.

"The concern is that WAP phones have not taken off in Australia to the extent that they have in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"However, technological advances made via broadband services will certainly help to speed up Internet access via mobile phones, especially with the introduction of GPRS and 3G technologies," he said.

The survey also found M-Commerce still has some way to go before it achieves wide acceptance among Internet users in Australia.

"The major obstacle is that most WAP phone owners do not perceive it as a tool for accessing the Internet. There are also many limitations in the WAP technology yet, and a lack of confidence in online shopping, mainly due to relatively limited experience of the Internet and perceived security issues. Therefore the opportunities for M-Commerce to benefit from e-Commerce are still comparatively low."