Emerging TechnologyMobileWhat Wireless Users Want

What Wireless Users Want

Coverage outranks price, and m-commerce capability isn't a priority.

Almost three-quarters (73.5 percent) of respondents to a Gartner, Inc. survey indicated that complete regional or national coverage is the most important factor in selecting a wireless service.

“Beyond anything else, geographic coverage remains the most important characteristic for mobile enterprise users,” said Phillip Redman, Gartner mobile wireless research director. “No matter what the price, if you are out of coverage or get a fast-busy signal too often, you are paying too much.”

The 122 enterprise survey respondents ranked their remaining reasons for selecting wireless service providers:

  • Service pricing: 25.3 percent
  • International roaming and coverage: 8.2 percent
  • Wireless Internet and data services: 8.1 percent
  • Handset selection and price: 2.0 percent.
  • Other (includes business integration, billing, ability to combine multiple data or voice services in a unified product offering, paging services and the corporate agreement): 15.4 percent

The survey asked respondents to rate wireless network providers’ network quality as either poor, below average, average, good or excellent. The results showing providers receiving good or excellent satisfaction levels are:

  • AT&T Wireless: 57.1 percent
  • Cingular: 51.6 percent
  • Verizon: 51.2 percent
  • Sprint PCS: 50.1 percent
  • VoiceStream: 42.9 percent
  • Nextel: 40 percent
  • Others: 25 percent

“Plenty of opportunity exists for the right provider to gain that top spot,” said Redman. “Enterprises are expecting more from their wireless carrier, and next-generation wireless data services will be another proving ground.”

It’s interesting to note that mobile commerce capability wasn’t a high priority among Gartner’s respondents. A Frost & Sullivan study predicted that transactions conducted on mobile phones would reach $25 billion in 2006 equating to around 15 percent of estimated online e-commerce consumer spending. Frost & Sullivan also forecasts that mobile-accessed Internet and peer-to-peer payments would make up the bulk of payments, accounting for 39 percent and 34 percent of spending respectively in 2006.

“Analogies can be drawn with the introduction of credit cards 50 years ago, currently the principle alternative to cash. They were perceived as a niche product and unnecessary luxury for many years until global technology standards made them viable for the mass market,” said Ben Donnelly, research analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

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