Set-ups Hamper Cell Phone Upgrades, Study Finds

girl/cellCell phone makers and service providers take note: You're missing out on an opportunity to move more merchandise because people can't figure out the phones.

According to research company Mformation, an overwhelming number of consumers--95%--would be more likely to try new mobile services if the set-up of these new services was easier. Moreover, nearly half--45%--say set-up issues are preventing them from upgrading to new and more sophisticated cell phones. Sixty-one percent of users say setting up a new cell phone is as difficult as changing bank accounts.

"This is a missed opportunity for the mobile ecosystem as a whole," Matthew Bancroft, vice president of Mformation, tells Marketing Daily. "Mobile technology is fragmented. It's not intuitive for most people."

Indeed, 78% of the 4,000 respondents in the U.S. and U.K. said they would be more likely to switch handsets more regularly if set-up was easier. And 88% said they would be more likely to use revenue-generating services such as text and Internet browsing if the set-up were easier. On average, the respondents think average set-up time for a new cell phone should be 15 minutes, although the current set-up time is around an hour.



"'Up and running straight out of the box' means exactly that, and our research shows that improving this aspect of mobile phone purchasing experience will help to improve profitability for many players in our industry," Bancroft says.

One of the things that would ease some of the set-up issues would be to make mobile applications look and feel like the applications consumers are accustomed to using on their computers, and making sure those phones work as consumers buy them, Bancroft says. Some of the newer smart phone entries--such as the iPhone, Google's Android and Palm's new Pre phone--are moving in that direction. The companies that continue to get that right will thrive in the future, Bancroft says.

"People are going to gravitate to devices that are easier to use, and there will be a natural gravitation to people who do this well," he says.

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