Ofcom: Mobiles Eat Other Device Functions, But Mobile TV Take-Up Tiny

The mobile phone is taking the place of other devices, with a growing number of mobile features causing consumers to substitute their use of existing gadgets, according to a report from U.K. media regulator Ofcom. New research published in Ofcom’s fourth annual Communications Market report shows 55 percent of mobile users now use an alarm clock less and 51 percent use a portable radio/tape/disc player less because their phones do the same thing. Thirty-eight percent said they use their dedicated camera less, 34 percent use their mp3 player less, 22 percent use radio less and 15 percent player fewer console games. The camera function is the most popular non-core mobile phone feature, used by 41 percent of people with camera phones.

Other findings:

TV: Only 10 percent of consumers are aware they can get mobile TV, and only two percent actually do so. A shocking result, given the research was conducted only last month. Ofcom: “Of all the new services, the ability to watch TV clips on a mobile device is noticeably regarded as the least valuable, ranked as not at all valuable by over 50 percent of adults and as extremely valuable by only three percent of adults” (Q1 research). Although those aged 65 and over are most dismissive of mobile TV clips, the most prevalent opinion even in the 15-24 and 25-44 brackets was that the service has no value. More people are aware of IM on their device (27 percent; 11 percent are users) and FM radio (30 percent; 10 percent are users), for example.

Games: 6.4 million people play a mobile game one to three times per month, but daily players are a minority (2.6 million); easily the most popular genre is arcade puzzle titles (source: M:Metrics).

Location: Curiously, 51 percent of those who play mobile games do so at home, even though they often have a games console available, while most mobile music users (41 percent) listen in a car or on a bus or train.

Spend: The average amount of money U.K. consumers spent on mobile services fell for the first time in 2006 – by £0.70 ($1.39) to £31.72 ($63.07), “falling prices more than compensated for an increase in the total number of connections and in the average number of voice calls and text messages per subscriber”. 3G connections grew 70 percent to 7.8 million.