Report: Net Access Key for Wireless Users

According to a new study by the Strategis Group, nearly 33 percent of cell phone users who responded said they would pay an additional $13 (US$) per month or more to surf the Internet on their phones.

Most cell phone users can afford to pay more to get what they want, according to Strategis. The average household income of the wireless phone users the company surveyed was nearly $63,000 per year, though the data suggests that users with lower salaries are starting to show interest as well.

The higher the household income, the higher the monthly cell phone bill is, Strategis notes, with those earning less than $40,000 a year paying about $45 per month on average for cellular service. By contrast, those earning more than $80,000 per year spend about $75 on cell phone fees each month.

Not surprisingly, the largest group of cell phone users — 33 percent — said they would prefer to pay nothing for wireless Internet service. About 27 percent said they would pay $1 to $10 extra, and 25 percent said they would pay $11 to $20 more per month. Another 15 percent said they would even pay more than $20 to get Internet service through their phones.

E-Mail Is Key

The most desired wireless feature is e-mail, with 30 percent of current cell phone users and 49 percent of potential users saying they want to be able to send and receive e-mail through their phones.

“The fact that so many potential users are interested in wireless e-mail validates the findings from Europe and Japan,” Strategis Group senior vice president Elliott Hamilton said. “New users are much more likely to depend upon wireless for all of their Internet and e-mail access, bypassing fixed Internet access altogether.”

New Features on the Way

Even though Internet sites geared for cell phone browsing are still somewhat sparse, the enthusiasm of cell phone users indicates a promising future, Strategis Group says. Future technological improvements will give users more features, but in the meantime, society’s growing reliance on e-mail is enough to draw cell phone customers to these new wireless services.

“The Internet and e-mail are playing a more and more dominant role in our lives,” Strategis Group wireless analyst Geoffrey Koontz said. “Wireless users are realizing that wireless Internet access would serve a very functional and convenient purpose for getting information when they’re away from their home or office.”

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