Mobile penetration has reached a high level of saturation; basic phone features are common; SMS text messaging remains the most used mobile service; and users aren¿t yet ready to adopt advanced mobile services, such as the mobile Internet and video messaging. These are just some of the insights gained from the Q4 2004 Consumer Technographics® European Study by Forrester Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORR).

Forrester interviewed more than 18,000 consumers in the five largest Western European markets: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The focus of this survey was mobile phone users¿ behavior, mobile ownership, mobile features, and mobile services.

Reineke Reitsma, Manager of Quantitative Research Operations at Forrester Research, states: ¿More than 60% of mobile users aged 16 to 24 have an Internet-capable mobile phone, but only 18% of them actually use mobile Internet services. We see the same lack of interest when it comes to mobile phone features. While features like polyphonic ring tones, mobile Internet capability, color screens, and the ability to download games are most widespread at the moment, a high 63% of mobile users say they don¿t need a sophisticated phone; they just need it for voice calling and messaging.¿

Other results from the survey include:

  • Europe¿s mobile phone penetration has plateaued at around 80%.
  • The UK and Italy have reached saturation levels, while France still has some room for growth ¿ it currently has just 69% penetration.
  • Mobile phone brand ownership displayed minor changes from the past two years, but Nokia is still in the lead, ahead of Siemens and Motorola.
  • Nearly 60% of mobile accounts are prepay.
  • Some 70% of mobile users use SMS as a way to communicate, but the popularity of MMS/picture messaging doesn¿t come close: A low 14% of Europe¿s mobile users have adopted this service.
  • Other favorite services are mobile gaming and buying ring tones ¿ via both SMS and the PC-based Internet.
  • Nearly 17 million users across Europe already access the mobile Internet ¿ about 9% of all mobile users. The UK leads in adoption, with 15% of mobile users browsing the Net from their phones.

Commenting on what Forrester has noticed as early signs that the mobile Internet is gaining momentum, Reitsma says: ¿The mobile Internet has not yet become a part of its users¿ daily life, though: Three-quarters of mobile Internet users browse it less than once per week. But there¿s great opportunity for growth, as nearly every second handset is equipped with mobile Internet capability. Engaging content and providers¿ 3G activities will kick-start the mobile Internet in the future.¿

The research mentioned in this release, ¿Europe¿s Mobile Consumer¿, is available to Forrester WholeView 2¿ clients.