All the confusing, and even deceptive, carrier marketing around data network speeds and "4G" may be setting mobile users up for disappointment. Earlier this month Retrevo found that there was considerable consumer confusion about 4G.
More than one third of iPhone owners and almost 30% of Android owners thought they already owned a 4G handset (in the case of Android some of them may be right). Of course there is no 4G iPhone available yet.
Expectations of increasing mobile data speeds may be responsible for growing user expectations about mobile Internet page-load times.
A company called Compuware commissioned research to study mobile user expectations in several countries: US, UK, Germany, France, China, India and Australia. There were 4,014 survey respondents who had used a mobile handset to go online in the past year.
According to the survey, most people expect websites on their handsets to load quickly and, in some cases, even faster than on their PCs at home. They'd like to wait no more than 3 seconds but are willing to wait not much longer than about 5 seconds.
If mobile websites fail to meet these expectations -- if pages take more than 5 seconds to load -- users are likely to abandon. Beyond this there could be other fallout. Users may visit competitors' mobile sites or they might not try using the mobile site in question again. In the extreme, there could be some negative associations with the brand.
Publishers don't control network speeds of course. But it's up to them to build the fastest-loading sites they can that will work on 3G and even 2G networks to avoid some of the inevitable backlash that comes with being a slow site on the mobile Internet.