@ CTIA: Ontela Says Pic Uploader Increases Data Plan Adoption; Signs Up 14 Rural Carriers


Seattle-based Ontela, which makes it easy to get pictures off of the cellphone, plans to announce today that it has signed up The Associated Carrier Group, representing 14 new rural carriers, and is releasing the results of a survey conducted among Cellular South users. The application, called PhotoCopter, works by automatically sending photos taken on your phone to the place of your choice: your PC, or Web sites, such as Snapfish, Shutterfly, Facebook, MySpace and others. The 14 new operators, which represent 2 million subscribers in total, include Alaska DigiTel, Appalachian Wireless, Bluegrass Cellular, Panhandle Regional Wireless Network, Thumb Cellular and United Wireless.

Shapiro said the survey helped determine how the app was being used. Some highlights here:

Destinations and demographics: Although people have the option to send their pics to a number of locations, the number one option is to route the pics to email and the PC, rather than to the Web. Two-thirds of subscribers were women, and two-thirds were adults. “This is not a teen or kid-heavy app.”

Data Adoption: Among subscribers over the age of 35, “25 percent bought a data plan to exclusively to use the service….The carriers love it because they get a cut of the $2.99 a month for the application, and they are willing to fork out some money to promote this because it helps to sell a data plan.” Shapiro said the people using it aren’t super savvy, with three-fifths using a low-end camera phone. “This service is the killer app to go buy a data plan. It comes back to this: maybe the killer-app for mobile data is actually photos, not surfing the Web. People are getting data plans, and are finding that having a camera online is more useful than having a phone online.” On average, subscribers use 1.7 megabits of data a month.

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