The purpose of this paper is to develop various measures and visualizations that reflect differences in the maturity and characteristics of mobile services. The visualizations and measures support market research processes with a recently developed handset‐based mobile service research tool.
A new handset‐based mobile service research platform was used in the study. This platform provides both questionnaire data and accurate usage‐level measurement data. The dataset included 695 Finnish smartphone users from year 2006, and 565 users from 2005.
Penetration, usage concentration and usage diversity indices illustrate how mobile voice has already reached the mass market and consequently relatively small differences in usage intensities among end‐users exist. On the contrary, many new services such as multimedia and internet browsing still catch quite explorative instead of sustainable usage. User preferences towards emerging mobile services are more heterogeneous than towards mature services. The distribution of usage in new services is quite skewed, whereas more linear cumulative distributions can be observed with mature services. Service life‐cycle reflects in measurement results.
The research includes data only from early‐adopter users. In addition, many background variables are missing that could explain some of the results. In particular, the supply side of the market is inadequately modeled.
The research shows that only a handset‐based data collection method provides accurate enough data to do cross‐service studies in today's more and more complex mobile service market.
The contribution of the paper is its unique data collection method, which makes this kind of accurate analysis possible. Handset‐based data can be efficiently used in micro‐level comparisons of user behavior or service usage patterns. Many of the studied services are such that, for example, network‐based research tools do not provide adequate possibilities for collection of data. The handset‐based research method is the only viable way to do accurate empirical mobile service research and demand‐side estimations in the kind of challenging cross‐service settings introduced in this paper.
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