Over 20% of mobile users accessing content now connecting via WiFi says Bango

According to Bango, the leading mobile billing and analytics company, over 20% of people visiting web sites to purchase content using their mobile phones are now connecting via WiFi. This presents a major challenge to both content providers and operators as these mobile visitors are unrecognized by the networks, making it difficult to sell and market mobile services to them and significantly impacting mobile content revenues.

Wifi connectivity entering “mass market”

Wifi connectivity entering “mass market”

Smartphones and high end mobile devices with WiFi, such as Blackberries, the Apple iPhone, Windows Mobile devices, Google Android and Nokia Series 60 (N95, etc) represent the fastest growing mobile phone segment. This means that WiFi is appearing more frequently as a primary connection method across a growing range of handsets, according to data recorded in Bango Analytics.

“The use of Wi-Fi on mobile handsets is becoming pervasive,” said Frank Dickson, Vice President of Research with analyst firm In-Stat. ”By 2010, In-Stat anticipates that 20% of the total WiFi chipsets will be used in mobile phones as manufacturers, currently led by Nokia, continue to ship an increasing number of WiFi enabled handsets.”

To access mobile services, customers can now easily connect via WiFi at home, in the workplace and in a variety of public spaces, meaning they are not going through their operator network and are therefore unable to automatically access operator billing and other common network services.

“An increasing number of phones automatically recommend WiFi as the preferred connection choice when available,” continued Dickson. “The result is that subscribers are using the WiFi benefits of high bandwidth and often free access to take advantage of mobile services that were formerly only accessed via the cellular network. The market has spoken and the market likes WiFi.”

Bango measures connection methods and conversion rates using its ground-breaking mobile analytics technology. Tracking these different connection methods over the last year has revealed that on average one in five connections is now via WiFi or other non-operator network. Customers connecting in this way cannot be authenticated to pay using simple operator billing which results in an inconsistent payment experience that slashes conversion rates and kills marketing ROI. The statistics also reveal that many customers that access their operator portals via WiFi are blocked, which prevents them from accessing or purchasing operator approved content and services.
In response, Bango is working closely with mobile operators and content providers to develop a unique mobile billing technology that allows customers connected over WiFi, and other non-operator networks, to continue to benefit from fast, consistent, operator billing.

“Operator billing delivers the highest payment conversion rates for mobile content,” says Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango. “These Bango statistics are both a warning and an opportunity for mobile businesses to ensure their mobile billing solution can secure the same high conversion rates from the growing number of WiFi connected customers.”

Ovum projects that smartphone shipments will grow by 18.7%this year and represent 29% of the market by 2014, while Gartner reports 36.4 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter of 2009. Bango predicts that by 2010 over a third of all mobile internet connections will be via WiFi.
To download a full copy of Bango’s WiFi market stats, visit www.bango.com/wifi or alternatively contact info@bango.com
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