3GSM 2007: Mobile phone and software manufacturers urge a cheaper mobile Web

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Logo.gifMobile phone operating system maker Symbian, whose software is found on about 70% of the world’s smartphones, together will leading mobile phone makers, have appealed for mobile operators to make their wireless Internet services cheaper to appeal to more customers.

“With data, the unclarity of how much it costs is the biggest problem at the moment. And of course prices are high as well. That really needs to be solved,” said Kai Oistamo, head of Nokia’s mobile phone division.

Sales of smartphones in Europe rose 16% in the third quarter of 2006. Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian, believes that making tariffs easier to understand, and cheaper, is the way to stimulate growth in the market for both handsets and their use.

Sony Ericsson’s Miles Flint said that even flat rate data tariff packages had complicated restrictions, making it hard for the consumer to know how much they were going to pay, and thus stifling use of the services.

“If we want to go to the next phase of mobile communications four factors need to be in place: great devices, 3G networks, the pull of service and brands, and tariffing that is predictable and affordable,” said Clifford.

According to the Washington Post, mobile Internet revenue only accounts for around 5-6% at present, a situation that will have to change if it’s to make up for falling revenue from voice services.

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Andy Merrett