LONDON: Over one in four (28%) European mobile customers will go online via their handsets at least once a week during the next 12 months, new research has indicated.

According to a study conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Lightspeed Research, the most popular mobile sites are search, social media, news and weather portals.

Of the three nations researched, UK users were found to be the heaviest mobile web users, with 36% planning to visit sites regularly over the next year.

This proportion fell to 27% in Germany and to 20% in France.

Users also seem amenable to mobile marketing, with 30% across the three countries willing to receive email alerts from their favourite sites.

Ralph Risk, Lightspeed Research marketing director EMEA, said: "[Mobile] is becoming a very attractive medium for brands and advertisers to engage with consumers."

Report author Peter A Johnson, vice president of market intelligence at the MMA, added: "Site owners and developers need to ensure their websites are well-designed for mobile, user-friendly and easily discoverable using mobile search engines."

Mobile customers showed a strong preference for free services, with a majority (56%) of customers in France and the UK, and 35% of German customers, saying they would be unlikely to use mobile web services that charged fees.

This chimes with new research from IAB Europe, which suggested that only 20% of web users currently pay for online services.

The report also suggested that, if free online services introduced charges, 40% of users could be so put off by the costs that they would stop going online.

Data sourced from Cellular News; additional content by Warc staff