Third-generation (3G) mobile phone operators will face a rough ride when their new networks launch this autumn.
According to the results of an extensive survey by research group Detica, almost half the potential 3G customer base has no intention of using mobile phones for any 3G-enabled services such as banking and travel planning.
The UK's 3G network operators are facing mounting stakeholder pressure to deliver a return on the estimated £40bn that they will have invested in both licences and in network infrastructure by the time 3G goes live, but Detica's survey has revealed a lukewarm response from the UK consumer.
The research, which included interviews and focus groups with more than 2,000 participants, found that many consumers also had concerns over the security of such services.
These concerns included the worry that sensitive information could go astray, mistakes could be made in transactions and the increasing problem of mobile phone muggings.
In addition, more than half the respondents said they were also worried about receiving large volumes of junk mail via their phones.
Detica pointed out that most of the recent activity in the 3G market hadfocused on the identification of a "killer application" capable of delivering financial success.
In conducting its research, the company focused on three key areas for 3G services: finance, entertainment and travel. But while the respondents had some interest in part of the services on offer in each of these particular areas, there was no one clear winner.
"There is in fact no killer application for 3G," concluded Detica.
The company warned that the network operators' "preoccupation" with the search for this non-existent killer application may lead to their downfall.
Instead, Detica said, they needed to concentrate on delivering services targeted at specific groups, rather than searching for a "one-size-fits-all" service.
"3G is capable of delivering service benefits that are both highly appealing and tangible for consumers and a considerable consumer market exists for correctly configured core services in the short term," the research said.
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