MoMI/MoMI II Project
Research Tasks
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Research tasks

In practice, the project consists of eight research tasks, that utilize various data collection methods holistically:

1. Value and utility of mobile services
2. Adoption of mobile services
3. Contextual and ubiquitous use of mobile services
4. Access alternatives to services and content
5. Mobile peer-to-peer usage and business models
6. Market-level diffusion of mobile devices and services
7. Handset bundling
8. Dynamic modeling of the mobile market

Task 1 - Value and utility of mobile services

The recent emergence of mobile Internet services, ubiquitous logic of new mobile applications, new schemes in mobile broadband pricing (bundled subscriptions, flat-rate tariffs) and increase in the complexity of mobile devices and service delivery methods have all raised the question how consumers really perceive the utility and costs of mobile services. Mobile operators in Finland are currently experimenting with various kinds of pricing schemes in mobile services. Particularly mobile broadband data access pricing has experienced many trials from time-based tariffs to flat-rate service pricing plans. This area asks for new modeling techniques, and more importantly data that supports empirical models. The MoMI project, among the first academic initiatives in the world, can acquire accurate enough data from end-users in Finland, and therefore to facilitate new quantitative models.

On a micro-level consumers compare their marginal utility from using a particular service to the marginal cost. Marginal utility varies from service to another, and it embraces both utilitarian and hedonic value people extract from the service. The cost of using the service, on the other hand, can be strict monetary cost, effort of using the service or opportunity cost of time. In addition, people consider the decision to start using a particular service by taking future events into consideration, too. For example, if the battery is low, people rarely launch power-intensive services such as music playback or Web browsing over WLAN.

The objective of the task is to model demand dynamics of mobile services. In particular, the flat-rate impact of service/access pricing and user behavior in considering their utility from service usage are to be analyzed in detail. One of the purposes of the present research track is to build quantitative models of micro-level user behavior and service usage with available data. The results are used in evaluating the suitability and role of new business models in driving emerging mobile Internet services. Longitudinal analysis of new emerging mobile Internet services in Finland is repeated continually in the MoMI project, and the results are communicated to the academia, industry and Finnish media.

Task 2 - Adoption of mobile services

One of the main venues for academic contribution is mobile service adoption research. Earlier technology adoption research has looked for determinants of usage intentions among end-users. This earlier research, however, has not tackled the special attributes of mobile services, such as context-dependence, physical restrictions, changing nature of business logic and immature technologies.

A major objective of the present task is to understand how to better model mobile service adoption process with structural equation modeling. In addition, the links between user attributes, interest and actual adoption of services are modeled in detail. An exemplary research question would be: “Is the user interest towards mobile email driven by expected utilitarian or hedonic benefits, and how does the assumed interest result into trial usage and this further to sustainable usage?” An extension of the mobile service adoption research task involves the segmentation of end-user domain based on e.g. smartphone usage behavior and motivational aspects.

Task 3 - Contextual and ubiquitous use of mobile services

Mobile services are used in quite a variety of situations. This mainly results from the fact that people carry their mobile devices everywhere, and new services are accessible irrespective of time and location. Novel mobile Web 2.0, context-aware and ubiquitous services are emerging that leverage new business models. The new handset-based end-user research method provides data on location and time of smartphone usage. All cell-id transitions, consumer actions with mobile services, time of usage and even geographic GPS coordinates are logged in the handset and are available for data mining purposes. This provides a possibility to model the location dynamics of mobile nodes. In addition, this provides a unique approach to continue contextual and sociological modeling of mobile subscriber behavior and service usage.

Task 4 - Access alternatives to services and content

The number of radio interfaces in mobile devices in increasing. In addition to the continuously evolving family of 3GPP standards, technologies such as WLANs, Bluetooth, and DVB-H provide alternative means to access content and services in the network. Furthermore, as memory cards and hard drives continue to increase in capacity, more and more content can be stored in the device and viewed or played back when wanted.

Due to the increasing number of alternatives, considerable uncertainty exists regarding the dominant ways of accessing different types of mobile services and content in the future. The preference of users regarding device formats (e.g. mobile phones, PDAs, ultra-mobile PCs, laptops) and access technologies (e.g. WLAN, 3G) in different contexts (e.g. indoor / outdoor, or home / office / on-the-move) has a significant effect on the business of mobile operators as well as content providers.

This task analyzes the current and future role of alternative radio accesses and off-line playback for accessing different types of mobile content and services (e.g. voice calls, e-mails, IM, news, music, video). The paper analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the different access methods in different contexts, and attempts to integrate empirical findings from today’s smartphone usage data into a forward-looking techno-economic model.

As only a part of mobile services and content are utilizing the actual 2G/3G mobile networks, mobile network operators have limited visibility to the ways their customers are actually using their mobile devices. In our work, we are utilizing empirical data from a mobile handset-based measurement platform that allows us to analyze service and content usage utilizing also alternative radio accesses and off-line playback.

Based on available empirical data and supplementary expert interviews, a quantitative techno-economic model is constructed for forecasting the potential effects of alternative access methods on mobile operators’ business. The model combines forecasts for terminal feature penetration and network coverage, and calculates the potential effects of alternative access methods to mobile operator business.

Task 5 - Mobile peer-to-peer usage and business models

Peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies have gained significant popularity in the Internet during recent years. Initially these technologies were used only for file sharing, but now they are also applied to e.g. communicating and broadcasting. Due to the popularity of these services, questions about the applicability of P2P technologies in the mobile domain have been raised. Various mobile P2P services are under development and their standardization efforts have begun.

There is so far little information about the actual usage of mobile P2P services. Gathering this information provides valuable insight about the development of mobile P2P and serves as a basis for further analysis regarding e.g. mobile P2P business models.

Task 6 - Market-level diffusion of mobile devices and services

The usage and diffusion of new mobile data services presents a lot of potential for the current mobile industry actors and for new entrants from the Internet world. The success of previously launched mobile data services, however, has been varying. Identifying the underlying reasons for the success and failure of different mobile data services would enable the industry to better drive the diffusion of new services to mass markets. Despite this, little accurate information on the adoption and diffusion of mobile data services is currently available.

The objective of this research task is to characterize the diffusion of mobile data services in Finland, to identify the drivers and barriers of this phenomenon, and to forecast the future diffusion of mobile devices and data services in the Finnish market.

Quantitative data on the real diffusion and usage patterns of mobile devices and data services is collected using two separate measurement methods: 1) Data collection based on mobile operators’ charging-oriented reporting systems provides information on e.g. the Finnish mobile terminal installed base, mobile subscriber population, and the usage of different data services by mobile subscribers. 2) Packet data traffic measurement at the mobile operators’ GPRS core network provides a profile of the “bit pipe” packet data traffic to/from the Internet (e.g. terminal operating systems, application protocols, browsing destinations). In addition, qualitative expert interviews are conducted to supplement the quantitative measurement data.

Task 7 - Handset bundling

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications (MINTC) decided in June 2005 to promote the adoption of advanced handsets and services by proposing to allow handset bundling and subsidies for WCDMA handsets for a limited time period. The law came into effect in April 2006. The reasons of this policy change and its possible consequences are the key motivation for our research. Bundling is interesting as one of the key regulatory parameters of the Finnish national mobile market, but it also is an important link between the national mobile cluster and the international markets. This handset bundling study continues the research on the impacts of handset bundling on mobile data usage started during the LEAD and COIN projects in 2004-2007.

The goal of the study is to measure and analyze the actual impacts a handset bundling strategy will have on the Finnish mobile communications market. Possible measures are the renewal of the technically old-fashioned handset base, changes in the operators’ differentiation opportunities, changes in churn rates, and operator control over the handset and its features. Also a policy and impact benchmarking between Finland and South-Korea will be done. In addition, the extension of the framework is applied in device and service bundling. For example, Nokia’s strong position in the device market provides interesting possibilities to leverage this position also in bundling new mobile Internet services into handsets. The merging of telecommunications and Internet worlds makes bundling and platform strategies relevant to study from an objective point of view.

Task 8 - Dynamic modeling of the mobile market

Developing and developed mobile markets have quite different evolution paths in terms of experienced penetration growth, regulatory framework, business models etc. Policy makers have to know how different policy initiatives such as roaming regulation or handset bundling might affect the dynamics of the market. Because the interrelationships between market supply, demand and regulatory sides are complex, advanced computational tools should be used in modeling market dynamics.

The objective of this research task is to develop a model of the Finnish mobile market dynamics and to evaluate different policy initiatives on mobile market structure and operations. The aim of the task is to compare the Finnish market not only to other developed markets but also to developing countries. A cross-country study setting attempts to explain many of the results that are observed with other research methods utilizing a limited amount of data available (handset-based measurements). The outcomes of the dynamic modeling exercise will also be used in developing the MOBI business game further.

MoMI/MoMI II 2008-2010
MoMI/MoMI II 2008-2010