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Users 'want advanced mobile services'

Research carried out by Nokia has indicated that users want more advanced features in their mobiles, as long as the advantages over current technologies are made clear
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor
Nokia has revealed results of research on advanced mobile services such as push-to-talk that are likely to be welcomed by operators.

The handset giant has worked with market researchers at Mori to find out more about services such as the walkie-talkie-style push-to-talk over cellular (PoC, for short) mobile instant messaging (MIM), video sharing, content sharing and presence, which is critical to most of the other services.

Petri Seppanen, head of IMS marketing and sales at Nokia Networks, said: "The bad news is that pressure on price [of voice calls and SMS texting] is a challenge for operators in mature markets. The good news is that there seems to be demand for richer ways to communicate."

There has been some speculation that most consumers -- as opposed to business users needing specific applications -- want little more than simple services, even younger end users in advanced markets. A Nokia survey of several thousand people across Germany, Singapore, the UK and the US found "a clear demand, especially among the socially active 16- to 34-year-olds", according a report summary.

Respondents to surveys and focus groups would find new services attractive as long as they are understood, are easy to use and offer benefits over voice and texting.

But there are caveats. A reply from one Briton in the 26- to 35-year-old bracket reads: "The phone can be too small and my thumbs too big. I end up thinking 'stuff it' and call them."

The uptake of PoC is a good example. Further Mori research for Nokia across Brazil, Germany, Thailand and the UK showed significant increases in all-important average revenue per user (ARPU) are possible, up to and over 25 percent for post-pay subscribers, for example.

But there are question marks over prices and how new services might work, including differences in etiquette. PoC has had some success in the US but in many markets most people have no idea what it offers above existing voice calling and so find it hard to give an opinion.

Janne Laiho, head of market research at Nokia Networks, said: "People have an easier time relating to experiences they have seen or even heard of."

Nokia and other large equipment makers have come in for some criticism over how PoC has been rolled out so far, moving forward with non-standardised technology. However, now the Finnish vendor cites 27 operator references around the world, with 11 also using its presence technology.

Many future mobile services are reliant on a technology called IP Multimedia Subsystem, or IMS. Nokia is expected to win many contracts globally for this additional layer of network sophistication but lost out to Siemens recently for the contract at long-time customer O2.

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