Consumer demand for mobile downloads is set to triple in the next 12 months, creating a €7.6bn global market for mobile content by this time next year, a study published today has predicted.
A report by LogicaCMG said that a fifth of mobile phone owners worldwide have already downloaded content to their handsets, a figure which is expected to rise to 60 per cent in the next 12 months.
The survey, covering Europe, Asia Pacific, the US and South America, also revealed an average monthly download spend per subscriber of €6.32, with more than 40 per cent of respondents expecting the amount to rise next year.
With worldwide mobile users currently exceeding 1.5 billion and predicted to reach two billion by the end of 2005, even conservative estimates predict that the global market for downloading content will become a multi-billion euro industry within a year, the report stated.
The market for downloading video and movie clips also showed promise, and more than 10 per cent of mobile users worldwide expect to download such content within 12 months.
This number rises to 25 per cent in Asia Pacific, with one in 10 expecting to be downloading full feature films to their mobiles by this time next year.
However, the study pointed out that operators face internal and external challenges in securing revenue from this emerging industry.
Some 45 per cent of respondents are particularly looking for ease of payment and 41 per cent want to be able to share content with friends, both of which put further pressure on the industry to invest in digital rights management and intelligent payment systems.
In addition, the survey revealed that 17 per cent of mobile users are looking for their operator to provide network-based storage for the content they download.
Some of the concerns expressed by consumers in the study showed that the cost of downloading content is often perceived as the predominant prohibitive factor.
Additionally, 22 per cent do not believe that their handset is enabled to accept such content, and nearly the same proportion (20 per cent) indicated that the process seems too complex.
Half of mobile phone users that commented on issues relating to downloading content said that security concerns, such as personal details being misused, may prevent them from accessing such services.
The potential for overpriced content and mobile fraud currently discourages 40 per cent of mobile users.
Paul Gleeson, chief operating officer at LogicaCMG Global Telecoms, said: " Mobile phone users are starting to experiment with their phones' capabilities but, drawing a parallel with the popular SMS experience, it is clear that the service seeds to be simple, safe and intuitive from initial browsing through to payment and download."
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