Millions of Consumers to Start Using Mobile Email Shortly

Funambol, the mobile open source company, today issued a report based on its recent survey of 500 people and their attitudes toward mobile email. The free report, entitled "Beyond Blackberry and Windows Mobile: What Mass Market Consumers Want in Mobile Email," can be requested here.

Previous studies have reported that consumers want mobile email but are not willing to pay much for it. Funambol's survey found that consumers indeed want mobile email, and that the majority is willing to pay for it, on average about $5 per month. Furthermore, many will be making the move to adopt it within the year. Consumers also indicated that they are looking for mobile email that is easy-to-use and that seamlessly interoperates with their web and PC email systems.

"The market potential for consumer mobile email is tremendous and far exceeds the enterprise market," said Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol. "The results of this survey put urgency on what many already know: carriers can tap into the vast profit potential of delivering mobile email to the masses but they need to act. Consumers want easy-to use mobile email, on the devices they already use, at a reasonable cost. Operators must quickly settle on a strategy to address this lucrative market."

In its online survey of 500 people, which took place in mid-March, 2007, Funambol analyzed and compared the expectations and requirements of mobile email users versus non-users. Included in this analysis was a look at how important specific capabilities were to both groups and how much consumers were willing pay for mobile email. Key findings from the report include:

* There will be hundreds of millions of new mobile email users in the coming years and they are more likely to be consumers than business users. Almost half of the survey respondents who do not use mobile email said they expect to start using it within a year.

* People use a wide range of mobile devices all over the world and a mobile email solution aimed at the mass market needs to support a broad set of devices. Of the mobile brands used by survey respondents, the second most popular choice was "Other," meaning other than Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola or BlackBerry (RIM).

* Non-users of mobile email want mobile email that is easy to navigate and read, easy to use and that allows them to reuse email addresses from their web/PC-based email.

* For existing users of mobile email, the main inhibitors to increased usage are functional and technical limitations, and cost. The top reason to consider switching to a different mobile email service was better interoperability with web and PC email.

* There are significant differences between users and non-users of mobile email. These include brand of mobile device, how much they paid for it, how many emails they get or expect to get, how much they are willing to spend on mobile email and their attitude toward technology adoption.

"This survey provides major insight into the motivation of early and future adopters of mobile email," said Hal Steger, Funambol VP Marketing. "It shows that a `one size fits all' approach won't satisfy the needs of masses. Operators will need to cater to multiple needs and consider flexible, low-cost strategies to unlock the potential of this market."