Improved handsets key to mobile web

The mobile phone market in Europe appears to have reached saturation, with no significant growth in the 300 million handsets forecast over the next five years.

However, mobile internet use is set to double by 2014, according to US research group Forrester.

Forrester assess the current mobile market in Europe as made up 60% media-capable phones, 25% basic phones and 15% internet-centric mobiles. It forecasts 33% will be internet centric within five years, 65% medi-capable and just 2% basic.

The figures form part of Forrester’s European Mobile Forecast 2009-2014 report. This reveals the British, Dutch and Swedish lead the way in Europe with 16% of mobile users going online via their phones – although there are more web-enabled handsets in Sweden than in the UK and the Netherlands.

The biggest disconnect between the availability and take-up of the mobile web is in Spain.

However, the Japanese remain by far the most likely to access the internet by phone, with 58% of a sample group doing so at least once a month.

Only 9% of UK users send and receive email by mobile, compared with 18% of Americans. But UK users are prolific texters, with 80% sending texts each month compared with just over 50% in the US.

The report advises businesses seeking to exploit the growth in mobile internet use: “Don’t take the European average for granted – develop localised approaches to European markets. There are as many different languages and as many different regulations and competitive environments as there are European countries.”

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