Majority of Internet-capable phones accesses mobile Internet

Mobile Internet applications lacked appeal to many cellphone users in the past, which meant mobile Internet was a tough. But a new report released by consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the Judge Business School of Cambridge University, suggests that more and more cellphone users get comfortable with using the Internet on a small screen.

The study, which included a survey of 4000 mobile phone users in 21 countries, revealed that 56 percent of multimedia mobile phone access the Internet or check e-mail at least once a month - a significant jump from the 36 percent who said they did so in the 2004 study. According to A.T. Kearney, more than half of mobile phone handsets are less than one-year old and feature multimedia capabilities.

Nearly two-thirds of users said new services and functions were easy to understand and enjoyable to use. Even among older mobile phone users, less than half complained that new functions were difficult to use, the consulting firm said.

Mobile phone users continue to send more pictures, photos and video clips through the use of multimedia messaging services (MMS). One third of multimedia phone owners now use MMS at least monthly, and MMS is used regularly by nearly half of all 19- to 24-year-olds.

On the downside, the study indicates that mobile operators still face challenges in bringing the price and quality of data services in line with consumer expectations. One-third of mobile phone users are concerned about the cost of mobile data, and about half say they are not willing to pay more than $5 per month for it. 35 percent of consumers cited poor content as the reason they don't access multimedia services, a considerable increase from just 8 percent in 2004.