Uncommon Wisdom

Feb 23 2009   3:10PM GMT

Nielson mobile survey: Caveats on the results

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

A mobile Internet survey conducted by Nielson for Tellabs shows that consumers consider it a necessity, and that almost three of four users expect to use the Internet from a mobile device daily. Obviously there are a lot of problems with this survey: 1) People routinely lie in them, and 2) Three out of four people don’t use mobile Internet, ever. Still, we believe that there is some sense in the dross here.

The Internet is an information tool that people rely on regularly, and that means they won’t give it up easily. We know seniors on fixed incomes of less than $15k per year who still have broadband service and profess to need it. There is little risk that there would be a major behavioral change and that broadband would be devalued in this downturn, but similarly we know younger and wealthier people who don’t use it at all.

In the mobile space, there is no question that the use of a smartphone for navigation, information, and just fact-finding, will become the norm. You don’t need surveys to figure that out. But just as there is resistance to longer-standing wireline Internet practices, there will be to mobile, and it’s just starting out. It would serve the industry better not to over-promote.

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