Only one in five urban subscribers is ready to embrace the services, says Nielsen study

The 3G mobile services, already available from BSNL and set to be rolled out by private operators, will take a long time to gain large-scale adoption, says a study conducted by Nielsen, an international marketing and advertising research firm.

A recent post on the Nielsenwire blog (blog.nielsen.com), which quoted the company's study on the country mobile market ahead of the 3G-service rollout, notes that only one in five of the urban mobile subscribers is ready to embrace the 3G services. Nearly 70 per cent of the urban mobile subscribers are aware of these services, and 63 per cent are familiar with them as a concept.

But the number of those opting for the services may be really low, though they promise higher rates of data transfer and the ability to download much larger files on the mobile phone networks.

“While service providers have succeeded in popularising the concept of 3G and articulating its promises clearly, consumers seem tentative about their disposition to embrace the technology,” says Arjun Urs, Director-Client Solutions India.

The study should come not only as a note of caution for the private players who have spent exorbitant sums to buy licences in the 3G spectrum auction but also as an opportunity for the service providers and the content developers to work on compelling solutions that will become an incentive for subscribers to switch to the 3G services.

The study lists three strategies that could facilitate widespread adoption in the long run: creating a compelling user experience through services and handset upgrades; creating a strong brand association and relevant services; and not just touting the 3G services as “faster.”

Nielsen suggests that telecom operators in India “bundle” 3G services with superior handsets — something that has not been seen much in the market, though it is a regular feature in the U.S. and European markets. In Japan, the operators have introduced relevant services that have made 3G adoption near universal.

Sluggish in China

However, in China, where there have been problems in the creation of 3G infrastructure and relevant services, the adoption has been sluggish.

The Korean market, despite a successful rollout of the services, has not been able to register high data usage among its subscribers for lack of services. Ringtones, graphics and games dominate the number of downloads there.

More In: Technology | Sci-Tech