As Mobile Data Grows, People Want Wireless Carriers To Buzz Off

[qi:044] No one really gives two hoots about carriers’ attempts to sell mobile applications via cellular phones. And yet, they keep trying and trying. Maybe a recent survey by Zogby (commissioned by Skype) would help persuade them to leave selling mobile apps to those who know how to do it. Folks like Apple , RIM and maybe Nokia. Skype is going to release the full results of the survey tomorrow. Zogby, a market research firm polled 3,000 mobile users in four markets — the U.S., UK, Spain and Japan — and came up with some interesting findings.

  • 62% do not yet view their mobile device as an extension of their computer.
  • Only 23% feel that they have more or the same level of control over their mobile device as they have over their computer.
  • 70% have never downloaded an application to their mobile device.
  • 67% want to be able to choose their mobile applications for themselves, rather than have their carriers choose for them.

According to the survey, about 19 percent of folks in the UK thought of their device as a phone and a computer. In the U.S., that number rose to 19.3 percent, while in Spain that number rose to 27.2 percent. In Japan, nearly 28.4 percent of people saw their mobile device as a combination of phone and a computer. That is a good sign for all independent app developers — we are seeing the emergence of mobile as a platform ripe for innovation. The usage of mobile data only reinforces that fact. Earlier this week, comScore reported that in the U.S. alone, nearly 63.2 million people accessed the Internet on their mobile devices, and nearly 22.4 million did so every day.

With that kind of growth, Skype, which commissioned the survey, has to be thinking hard about its mobile strategy, especially as it reaches saturation on the desktop. The company recently tied up with Nokia, and there have been other standalone offerings from startups such as Truphone to get Skype-on your mobiles. Skype also has two mobile-focused beta products currently available for testing as well.

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