Finns adopt 3G technology

The amendment to the Communications Market Act in April 2006 has stimulated Finns to move over to new 3G mobile phones and adopt new 3G content services with unparalleled vigour. Internet, e-mail, maps and local services are soon to be found in every pocket. Based on a survey investigating 3G user experiences among Finnish forerunners, almost half (40%) already use 3G services and every fourth (25%) is considering their adoption. In December 2005, only one in a hundred had a 3G phone.

According to the national survey, the most wanted 3G services are email (60%), map and route services (49%), and Internet (40%). A spring 2006 comparison shows Finland among the last countries in Europe in 3G. Due to the sales of 3G packages, the change has been fast and Finland has risen from position fifteen to position nine in just nine months. Finland has increased its proportion of the use of 3G technology faster than any other European country. Finland’s rise to the leading European user of mobile applications will be even faster than expected and is expected to happen in 2008.

So said Veli-Matti Mattila, President and CEO of Elisa Corporation, in a press and demonstration event at Restaurant Sipuli today. In addition to those from Elisa, also present were the senior executives of Nokia, Nelonen, Veikkaus, Google Finland, Finnish Meteorological Institute, RedLynx, Small Planet, ConnectedDay and MCN - pondering over the 3G innovation developments in the telecommunications industry.

“As late as April 2006, Finland lagged several years behind the rest of Europe in 3G. The change has taken place rather quickly because Finns have welcomed the new services more enthusiastically than we dared to expect. According to comparative questionnaire studies, the use of 3G has increased more than six-fold from the previous year’s 6 per cent to 40 per cent. Currently, there are more than 700,000 3G phones in use in Finland. A year ago, the number was only 50,000. The market share of Elisa amounts to over half of the 3G service packages sold in Finland during the life of the current Telecommunications Market Act,” summarises Veli-Matti Mattila.

The enthusiasm of Finnish consumers in adopting new 3G content services is further revealed by the fact that the amount of mobile data has increased more than five-fold, and the use of mobile Internet has more than tripled within the last year.

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“Finland’s capacity to make changes quickly is proved by the fact that within a few years we climbed to the spearhead in fast connections in the world. At the moment, a corresponding development is taking place in 3G services as the forerunners have already adopted them. The next challenge in the field is to reach ordinary telephone users through the increasing coverage of the 3G networks.

We must be able to offer them 3G solutions that are easy to use and help day-to-day living. According to the survey, next in everyone’s pocket will be the Internet, email and map services,” Mattila continues.

“Our international success in the telecommunications business is based on the Finnish consumers’ courage and the enthusiastic cooperation of equipment manufacturers, service providers, operators and legislative authorities. With enthusiasm and courageous cooperation, Finland is truly returning to the spearhead of the 3G world,” says Mattila, emphasising the importance of national cooperation.

Nokia presented its N95 multimedia computer and E90 communicator

“Location-based applications and map services are the fastest growing areas of mobile terminals. In-built GPS functions in a telephone enable the offering of maps, route services and navigation programmes to large consumer groups throughout the world. Navigation services facilitate everyday routines and offer versatile location-based service point information. They can be used in getting to know a new city, looking for restaurants, checking the weather or searching for travel tips for the weekend,” says Nokia’s Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki, who presented the Nokia N95 multimedia computer and Nokia E90 communicator, soon to be available in the market.

The Nokia N95 multimedia computer offers, among other things, an in-built GPS function, a five-megapixel camera, email, and the possibility to utilize fast wireless networks. The Nokia E90 communicator can be used to browse web pages through an HSDPA connection, the super-fast 3G mobile broadband. It can also be used to locate meeting places, restaurants and other interesting destinations with the help of an in-built GPS function. Both new products come with a map application for 100 countries at no extra cost.

There are already plenty of 3G services on the market to interest consumers

The event organised at Restaurant Sipuli today presented 3G mobile services already functioning or to be introduced in the next few months. Nelonen showed a live TV broadcast with a 3G mobile phone and Veikkaus demonstrated its online betting service including the Eurovision Song contest. Google Finland demonstrated its mobile search and Gmail email service with a 3G mobile phone and the Finnish Meteorological Institute demonstrated its interactive weather information service. RedLynx spoke about its interactive TV programmes for mobile phones, and SmallPlanet presented its communal game shop and MCN presented its new real-time mobile search platform for radio and TV channels. Societally interesting was ConnectDay’s service for daycare providers that sends children’s activities to their parents’ mobile phones as videos.

Finns have clear favourites among 3G services. According to a recent Soprano eSearch questionnaire study, the most wanted were email (60%), map and route services (49%), and Internet (40%). Next most popular were the news (39%), bank (37%), weather (33%), search (27%), music (21%) and television (19%). Music and games are popular, especially among the younger respondents. The popularity of music is evidenced by Elisa’s music service introduced one month ago, which already has over 40,000 registered users.

According to the study, buyers of 3G telephones, subscriptions and service packages value their speed, reliability, ease of use and affordability. Soprano Plc’s eSearch research unit was commissioned by Elisa Corporation to investigate the 3G user experiences of 2,300 Finnish forerunners from 5 to 12 March 2007. Comparative information comes from an analogous study carried out within the same group from March to November 2006.
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