The cell-phone equipment rate in the UK has reached the amazing level of 112% (i.e.: on average over one cell-phone per inhabitant). With this rate, the UK sets a European record, yet the average rate on the continent is above 75% (France: 86%). These figures are the result of the mobile phone market's skyrocketing for the past 5 years. But what is actually most striking about this market is not the evolution of its volume as much as its qualitative development. Indeed, the innovation cycle for cell-phones has been shortening and is nowadays close to three months. The protagonists of this innovation process are the cell-phone manufacturers and the phone operators. If anyone could have foreseen that such a technological market was going to be the field for tremendous innovations, only the happy few might have foreshadowed the creativity that both constructors and operators showed when they integrated gadgets such as cameras or services such as the internet in ever so tiny cell-phones.
[...] The phone industry seems to be creating artificial needs, and the public can realize that and still pay for them. Thus, the phone industry does not necessarily create dependence when they get consumers to use their technologies regularly. The SMS is a blatant success. An astounding 91% of consumers declare that this technology is essential to them. The question remains though. Is this a success because the phone industry created a new need, and did it so well that people actually believe that need always existed? [...]
[...] In Senegal for example of the phone calls are made using such cards. However, when it comes to surfing the web or watching TV on a phone, the per minute price is extremely high. Therefore, the only appealing plans seem to be the unlimited ones. The final objective of operators is to come to a point where access is granted all the time, wherever the customer is. As Didier Lombard, chairman of France Télécom, puts it: want to bring simplicity to our customers, the first step towards digital paradise!” Perception of the end consumer The tools of our observation Survey Our aim is to determine whether or not the phone industry creates needs out of scratch, or respond to existing need. [...]
[...] went through the roof, just as did the profit of phone manufacturers. Today, the situation of that market has dramatically changed: there are between 0.8 and 1.1 phones per person in our countries. In this case, how can phone manufacturers keep on selling as much as they used to? What is at stake right now is the ability of those companies to remain profitable, in a situation where their sales turnover should naturally decrease because the market is saturated. The challenge Samsung and its competitors are facing is to manage to sell to people something they already have ; and they will die if they don't succeed. [...]
[...] Operators seem to have adopted the same strategy as many of their ads focus on the phone included in their offers rather than on the multiple services they can provide. The Orange web site gives us evidence of this: the customers are offered a choice of eleven basic phones (voice and SMS only) and eighteen sophisticated ones (Video, TV, photo, games), without even mentioning Blackberrys. Technologically advanced subscriptions, which allow people to surf the web or to watch TV on their cell phones, are based on the same principle: people buy for the only reason that it is cutting edge technology. [...]
[...] As a matter of fact a recent study by the French consumer association UFC Que Choisir has shown that a high 72% of cell phone users in France only use their mobile to call people. But such a trend isn't limited to the French market. Another American research group Forrester - published a rather interesting survey. According to them, more than 60% of mobile users aged from 16 to 24 have a mobile Internet-capable phone, but only 18% of them actually use mobile Internet services. [...]
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