Jun 18, 2013

    More here use mobile apps but uptake slow

    THE proportion of Singapore residents using mobile applications has grown, but the growth is slower compared to that in other markets, a study has showed.

    This could be because of Singapore's less-than-competitive price plans and people here not having caught on to apps yet, said those in the telecommunications industry.

    Data released by Swedish telecoms-equipment maker Ericsson yesterday showed that the proportion of people here using apps rose to 75 per cent this year, up from 70 per cent in the same period last year, moving from ninth to fifth place out of 43 markets globally.

    South Korea remains at the top with 85 per cent, while Hong Kong is at second place with 83 per cent, rising one spot.

    Mexico and Malaysia jumped to place third together, with 76 per cent. They were No. 11 and No. 25 respectively last year, with 69 per cent and 54 per cent.

    Mr Afrizal Abdul Rahim, Ericsson's regional head of consumer lab, said that there are many players in the Malaysian market, and they offer highly-affordable and competitive price packages.

    Senior analyst Clement Teo at research company Forrester added that Malaysia offers users smaller data chunks.

    He said this was like selling a sachet of shampoo for $0.50 instead of a whole bottle for $10.

    This encourages data usage as Malaysian customers pay a small amount for each data chunk, he said.

    The study surveyed 38,000 people in 43 markets - including 500 from Singapore - in the first quarter of this year.

    It found that the proportion of people here with smartphones jumped from 74 per cent last year to 78 per cent this year. But Singapore's ranking in this area fell from first place to fourth. South Korea is first, while Hong Kong is second and Norway is third.

    Mr Teo said this could be due to the slow roll-out of 4G networks here and a lack of 4G-enabled devices, compared to other markets.

    Hong Kong has a high number of Chinese mobile microsites, such as Weibo and WeChat, "so that is a factor that plays into higher usage", he said.

    The study showed that smartphones here are more often used to send text messages, surf the Internet and use instant-messaging apps.