Monday, 22 February 2010

The Changing Face of Mobile Contracts

It used to be the case that mobile phone contracts lasted 12 months but these days most providers are keen to get you signed up for 18 or 24 months. This makes choosing the right handset and network very important as it can be a big commitment. When selecting a mobile phone we are aware that it's style or function may start to become outdated towards the end of our contract. The benefits of longer contracts for the provider are straightforward: they get more money from you and can rely on your custom for longer. There are also benefits for the consumer which are clear if you compare your first mobile phone to your current model.

The technology available now means that our phone can be used to take (surprisingly high quality) photographs, browse the internet and watch television online. We also have inbuilt GPS and video calling functionality. The handsets we use are worth a lot more than they used to be yet most contracts don't require a fee upfront for the phone. Despite all the increases in handset quality most of us still get a free handset as long as we sign a contract of 12 months or longer. It is also worth pointing out that the amount of minutes and text messages we are allocated tends to increase each year whilst the cost of calls tends to fall. My current contract allows to unlimited text messages and calls to those on the same network.

There are of course cheaper options for those who are unwilling to pay a monthly fee. Pay as you go phones are still popular particularly with those wanting to spend less per month. Pay as you go users are not obliged to sign up for a particular length of time so they can jump ship whenever they want. Pay monthly SIM only deals are also available for those who also have a handset they are willing to stick with but who want a better price for calls.

What ever contract you choose you cannot argue that there isn't enough choice. Now, more than ever before we are able to decide what we want and how much we are willing to pay for it.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Facebook and Google Top Mobile Internet Usage Charts

The GMSA and comScore have released the results of their first Mobile Media Metrics report. The report aims to investigate mobile internet usage including which sites are visited and by how many users. The first report has shown some very interesting usage patterns and statistics. Below is a quote from the GSMA explain how the data is collated:

"The GSMA Mobile Media Metrics service is based on anonymised, census-level data for mobile Internet usage across mobile networks, which is augmented with demographic data that has been collected with the consent of a representative sample of mobile Internet users. The Mobile Media Metrics service provides a rich, aggregated view of mobile Internet usage behaviour, enabling market-level analysis of site visitation and engagement metrics, such as page views, time spent on specific sites, and device types and features."

The report discovered that last December about 25% of the UK population accessed the internet via a mobile phone. This is quite a staggering statistic but doesn't come as a huge surprise when you consider that around a fifth of mobile phone subscribers (i.e those on a contract rather than those with a pay as you go mobiles) have a 'smart phone'.

The bulk of the traffic analyzed was unsurprisingly either to Facebook or Google sites. Below is a chart detailing the top 10 sites in terms of minutes spent online via mobile devices (via this Guardian article):

1 Facebook 2.2 bn
2 Google 396m
3 Microsoft Sites 166m
4 Orange Sites 139m
5 AOL (and Bebo) 106m
6 Apple 104m
7 Vodafone 89m
8 BBC sites 84m
9 Flirtomatic 55m
10 Yahoo 49m

Facebook's hits accounted for over a third of all internet visits via mobile phones although the presence of Google at #2 shows that users are going beyond sites they already know.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The State of the Internet

Here, for your reading please, is an interesting infographic about the state of the Internet in 2009. The data and fancy graphics are by Focus.

Edit: the image will not embed properly in Blogger so click here to view it.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Samsung Lauches First Dual-SIM Handset

Samsung have announced the forthcoming release of their first dual-SIM mobile handset this week. The handset which has been given the snappy title 'B5722' will be the first phone to combine a touch screen with duel SIM capabilities. It will be fist released in India but Samsung will no doubt be planning a worldwide release within 2010.

"The phone boasts of features like a decent 3.2 mega pixel camera, 30 MB memory (expandable to 8 GB with SD card) and a very respectable 14 hours of talk and a 20 day standby time. The B5722 is a GSM+GSM dual SIM phone and the user will be able to use two GSM SIM cards in a single phone. Users can switch from one SIM to another without having to switch off the handset."

The benefits of being able to use two SIMs in one device will be clear to anyone who uses a phone, such as the Nokia E71 which uses multiple 'profiles'. Those with a work phone and a personal handset will also be able to benefit from combining devices. With the proliferation of free SIM card offers and deals with different monthly usages means that using two contract SIMs could be a great money saver also.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Nokia X6 Aims to Rival the iPhone

Nokia have released more details about their upcoming handset the X6 which aims to take back some of the smartphone market from other handsets such as the iPhone. The X6 is a touch screen device with audio, video and gaming features which will be marketed as an all round entertainment portal. It has the ability to stream television content via a 3g internet connection along with the normal music playing capabilities.

Nokia are apparently ready to launch their biggest ever marketing campaign in support of the X6 including television spots using the tag line 'Come Get Entertained'. It is clear that Nokia are keen to make a big splash with the X6 and that they are hoping it will be as popular as the iPhone.

As with their other devices Nokia are linking the X6 with their Ovi store with a 'Comes With Music' package. Considering the the CWM service only managed to entice 23,000 users by April 2009, I'm surprised that they are still advertising it.