Mobile data services adoption in New Zealand: future predictions

Cosgrove, Steve
Cusack, Brian
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Master of Computer and Information Sciences
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Auckland University of Technology

The fast pace of development in the Mobile Data Services area means innovators have to remain vigilant to stay in the market. There is not time to undertake the usual market development cycles. As a consequence, researchers are looking at various ways to predict the adoption rate of a new product and ways to better forecast adoption in different niche contexts. Rogers’ (2003) provides a review of historical trends in innovation and diffusion studies, and the foundational (1962) model he developed. In the context of the most recent literature, it is found that Rogers’ generic model still works well, but variations built on his model need to be considered. In particular, the ‘Chasm’ model, developed by Moore (1999), adapts Rogers’s model to cope well with the 21st century business environment. Gilbert (2005) has taken the work of both Rogers and Moore and applied the learning to research into adoption rates and characteristics in cross-cultural situations. In New Zealand the past consumer behaviour when new mobile services have been introduced has shown a number of characteristics and specific problems. Vodafone New Zealand provides mobile services only and they now claim 54% market share (Vodafone 2005`). An early success was to significantly lower the cost of sending text messages (SMS), followed by promotion of that service to the teenage market sector. In contrast to the popularity of SMS, introduction of the WAP mobile Internet protocol was not successful in New Zealand, as was the case elsewhere. The failure is commonly attributed to a lack of services being offered to use the technology. Near the end of 2004 Telecom New Zealand launched a new product, branded ‘T3G’. Vodafone New Zealand released ‘Vodafone 3G’ during the middle of 2005. The technologies behind these products is generally called ‘3G Mobile’, or Third Generation Mobile technology. Operators in Singapore also have 3G networks, commissioned during 2004. Authors such as Salz et el (2004) find evidence to suggest that US network operators need to speed up the adoption of this technology to meet predicted demand. There are unique factors likely to affect in the New Zealand market. The OECD has repeatedly found evidence that broadband Internet adoption in New Zealand is lower than other countries. Introduction of 3G technology provides another way to access broadband Internet. The OECD indicates that pricing is one of the barriers to broadband adoption. Telephone companies will have to consider pricing 3G to appeal as an option to having a fixed Internet option. The key question to be addressed in this research is: Do the adoption intensions of New Zealanders match those of Malaysia and Singapore for expected data services use? A related question is: What other factors effect New Zealand's current relatively slow rate of adoption? Product positioning of mobile data products is going to become more critical, given that some telephone operators are ‘expecting to get 25% of revenues from mobile data within five years’ (Molony, 2001). This Thesis will provide information to assist Mobile Service Providers to predict adoption rates of new services. It will also provide a comparative reference for researchers in other countries to replicate the study, and contribute to an exciting body of international literature. The New Zealand market is characterised by high cost of broadband Internet in general (OECD, TUANZ, and others), proprietary knowledge capture, and regulation, but these issues do not stop research into the intensions of potential adopters. This thesis will fill part of that research void, by comparing emergent demand for mobile data with existing models, which have previously been used, to predict future demand. New Zealand has a reputation as an earlier adopter of new technologies (Min Economic Dev & others). This thesis will contribute evidence to indicate how New Zealanders plan to adopt mobile data services, and how intensions of adoption compare with parallel studies in Singapore, and other countries.

Wireless , Survey , Mobile , Data , Structured equation modelling , Technological adoption rates
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