GTI study reveals the ‘SMART’ Middle East Mobile phone customer
In its third edition, the Global Telecom Insights (GTI 2007-8) survey by TNS has revealed fresh insights into the mobile phone usage patterns across the Middle East. 78% of mobile users use some form of Mobile music (FM/MP3) in UAE.
The survey was spread across 30 markets with 16,000 interviews and conducted to identify patterns in mobile purchase behaviour, usage behaviour, ownership and also content downloaded/ used on the phone. GTI focused on telecoms market understanding, focus on the mobile phone, brand power in mobiles and attitudes towards convergence.
“This survey is our effort to gain insights about mobile users across the globe and I believe that GTI is the most comprehensive survey of its kind across the world which maps unique patterns of behaviour” says Steve Hamilton-Clark, Managing Director, TNS MENA.
Usage of telecom services and products
The survey sought to identify patterns of usage of both telecom products and services.
The survey revealed some startling information. Almost all users of mobiles in the UAE buy new handsets, while the global lifespan of a mobile handset usage is 3 years, in the UAE it is 2 years. The usage of smart phones is on the rise in the UAE with over 1/3 of mobile phone users having a smart phone.
“All of these indicate some very unique behavioral cues which can be very useful to brand managers, technology professionals and marketing professionals who want a peek into the mind of the mobile consumer to plan their strategies “ said Viraj Juthani, Account Director, TNS.
Mobile ownership patterns
Some patterns clearly emerged from the survey. When it comes to mobile ownership, while most mobile users in the UAE have new mobile phones, many of the women are gifted their phones, as compared to men who buy their own phones. The consumers in Middle East are willing to spend 29% more on their next mobile handset purchase.
“The study reveals that the key driver to buy a new handset is the need to keep up with the latest in technological developments, and cost of the handset is therefore not a constraint” added Viraj.
Mobile content and services
Mobile content is the key driver of revenues across the region. With greater convergence and content sharing, side-loading of music and applications is on the rise.
There seems to be a high level of awareness when it comes to mobile music and other content services, but the usage is not proportionately high for many services. While the awareness level of instant messaging is high at 82 %, only 9% of the mobile users make use of this feature. “Side loading seems to be on the rise when it comes to mobile music usage. People don’t necessarily download music on their mobiles, but may use other means to transfer it”, added Viraj.
Some key insights
- Globally, usage of mobile phones surpassed that of landline phones, and the healthiest growth is in the space of wireless email devices ( Blackberries), PDAs’ and VOIP.
- Wireless broadband internet will take over wired broadband internet in the next few years
- Gifting of phones in the UAE is seen mainly among the youngest group ( 16-20 years) and oldest group ( 51-60 years), which means that marketers can focus on their messaging with this in mind.
- The average time that consumers spend listening to mobile music is 232 minutes per week.