Survey: Users Prefer “Web Brands” Over Carrier Services

Survey - Users Prefer Web Brands Over Carrier ServicesI’ve long said that carriers continually miss the boat in terms of leveraging their position to capitalize on mobile marketing and advertising, and a new survey reinforces my stance even further.

CSS Insight, in its most recent survey, indicates that most consumers ignore the services offered by wireless carriers in favor of more familiar names on the Web. While the research suggests ways for network operators and phone-makers to maximize the uptake of the mobile Web, results indicate that many of these opportunities are being overlooked (again).

Most carrier-based “portals” and services such as Nokia’s Ovi are losing out to familiar Web brands like Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, who carry much more name recognition and worldwide appeal than that of a single carrier.  Still, carriers should have recognized the potential the mobile Web was inevitably going to provide and acted before it was too late.

Granted, the aforementioned survey was conducted in Europe, which differs slightly in terms of mobile tech and uptake than the US, but the sentiment remains the same- carriers have, again, failed to recognize an opportunity for immense revenue and user-interaction that would have kept them in front of their subscribers instead of pushing them away to third-party mobile Web content providers.

Martin Garner, Director of Mobile Internet at CCS Insight and one of the report’s authors, said: “Our survey reveals the true picture of mobile Internet usage among young consumers in Europe’s top five markets.  It shows that as smartphones become more affordable, people are using them to access the sites they know and love on their PCs.  Mobile network operators and handset manufacturers are losing the battle to define the mobile Internet experience, despite the huge sums they’re pouring into sites that compete with the familiar Web names.”

There’s still a lot of lessons to be learned, but carriers should have already learned most of them- being they’re at the forefront of mobile technology and its subsequent ecosystems.  If they continue down this path, they’ll become something that none of them want to be: dumb pipes that feed the mobile broadband that fuels those who truly understand the massive potential before them.