Mobile users 'need clearer prices' for instant messaging
Many mobile phone users in the UK are deterred from using the instant messaging (IM) service on their handsets because they are confused about pricing, an expert has claimed.
Research by ProcessOne this week revealed that 60 per cent of British consumers would favour mobile IM over texting as a more immediate form of communication.
However, more than half of those surveyed also said they felt reluctant to use the service because of the apparent high cost involved.
Mickael Remond, chief executive officer of ProcessOne, suggested that mobile operators must therefore come up with a new, clearer way of pricing and controlling the service, rather than relying on server networks such as MSN.
He said that users are currently "afraid" of using a service where they are unsure of the total cost that will come through on their bill at the end of the month.
"The first thing is to build a business case for instant messaging and the second thing is once you have built a business case, you can try and find a pricing model that would be used," he commented.
Once this had been carried out, it would become clear for consumers that IM comes inclusive as part of the service that they get from their operator.
ProcessOne's research also revealed that many users would prefer to pay for mobile IM services on a pay-per-message service rather than paying via a monthly subscription.
It follows a study by TNS Global Telecoms Insight last year which suggested that the facility could become popular with users if it is priced correctly.
Once people adopt the service, the firm found that it soon overtakes other messaging tools to become the primary non-voice method of interaction.