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Mobile internet now a daily habit for one in four Brits, but user experience improvements could make it ubiquitous

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One in four British consumers are now using the mobile internet every day, nearly twice as many as a year ago, according to the 2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report from Antenna Software. But user experience has to be improved for mobile to reach its true potential, with more than one in three British and 44 per cent of American consumers who can access the mobile internet on their device never using the service.

With one in five US consumers (20 per cent) now using the mobile internet every day (up from 17 per cent in 2010), British consumers have taken the lead and are more active on the mobile internet than their transatlantic counterparts. One in three British (34 per cent) and American (33 per cent) consumers are now accessing the internet using their mobile phone at least once per week, up from 27 and 28 per cent respectively in 2010.

According to the 2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report, 27 per cent of consumers in both countries that can access the internet on their mobile phone are still put off using the mobile internet by websites that don’t display or function properly on their mobile screens. 32 per cent of British and 28 per cent of US consumers have specifically been put off doing so due to difficulty in navigating mobile internet sites.

The growth has been driven in part by a demand for staying in touch with friends through instant messaging (21% in the UK and 22% in the US) and social networking (27% in both countries).

“The mobile internet has become an important part of daily life for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” commented Jim Hemmer, president and CEO, Antenna. “The desire for convenience and developments in technology mean that today more people than ever can enjoy good mobile internet experiences regardless of their handset. But clearly our 2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report has found that there is still some way to go for operators and enterprises to ensure that consumers are getting a compelling and consistent experience of the brand.”

“Operators and enterprises must continue to do more to make compelling mobile internet and application experiences available to consumers on all mobile devices, not just smartphones,” adds Jim Hemmer. “Consumers expect a high standard of internet experience whether on PC or mobile, and while most mobile devices in widespread use in the UK and US are capable of providing high quality mobile internet experiences, operators and enterprises must ensure their mobile internet websites and applications can be rendered optimally across the broadest range of handsets. Otherwise they risk losing out on critical future revenue opportunities.”

Despite the promotion of flat rate data packages, cost also remains a barrier to greater mobile internet usage. 39 per cent of British and one in three American consumers still believe that using their mobile phone to access the internet is too expensive.

“While operators have made great strides to promote flat-rate data, there is a lingering perception on both sides of The Pond that accessing the internet through a mobile phone is expensive,” adds Jim Hemmer. “In many cases, unlimited mobile data packages can be substantially cheaper than monthly fixed line broadband costs demonstrating we still have a way to go in educating consumers.”
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