Study Highlights the Mobile Lifestyle

Vodafone has published details of a research study into mobile Internet, email and social network access. The research found that 62% of mobile phone users check their email on the move; more than 45% of UK mobile phone users access Internet through their mobile; and 24% of mobile phone users in the UK connect to social networks on the move.
The study, which was conducted by ICM Research and the London School of Economics, questioned 1,000 mobile phone users in the UK during the month of June. Vodafone accredits the  upsurge in mobile Internet use to several factors, including easier access via a 3G network; mobile operators signing contracts with more free and social network providers; and a new pricing structure that includes data in the voice and text tariffs, empowering consumers to surf the mobile Internet with greater confidence.
The number of mobile email and social network users is substantially higher in the 18-24 age group. This, says Vodafone, suggests that with technology-savvy youngsters leading the way and given the enormous room for growth in the mobile social network market, usage is likely to increase significantly in the future. Although the 18-24 age group leads the way, however, the research reveals significant interest in accessing the mobile Internet across all age groups, including the over-65s.
Those questioned said the main barrier to using mobile devices for social networking and email is the perceived threat of high bills, with 41% saying they would be very likely to use the mobile Internet more often if cost was not a factor.
Mobile internet has come a long way since we launched it last summer, says Vodafone UK Head of Content, Al Russell. Vodafone has been constantly improving the service, making it more simple and easier for customers to set up and use. Ever since we bundled the mobile Internet into our consumer price plans weve seen usage double, and a lot of this is driven by social networks and email.”
The study also looked at how integrated social networking sites and email are in consumers everyday lives by asking users what impact losing access to email and social networks would have on respondents work and social life. In response to this question, 25% said losing email would ruin their day, while 12% said not being able to access social networks would ruin their day
The results were interpreted by Professor Leslie Haddon of the Media and Communication Department at the London School of Economics, who argues that the lower figure for the impact of losing access to social networking sites can be accredited to the long established presence of email in the market;
This is a strong indicator of how email has been integrated into the lives of those who use it, says Professor Haddon. But despite the lower figure for social networking sites, it suggests that a significant minority have already become somewhat dependent on using them as well.
While mobile devices offer the opportunity to access websites at any time, the study looked into the time of day that people log on to email and social networks to establish how the role of mobile Internet can change web access patterns.
39% of Internet users said that they access email anytime of the day, with 26% saying they access it predominantly in the evenings, and 20% saying they only check email on their phone during the day. The corresponding figures for social networking sites on the mobile are 16%, 18% and 5%, respectively.