DUBAI: Consumers in the Middle East display a greater interest in mobile tools like apps and geo-location services than their counterparts elsewhere, a new study suggests.

Oracle, the IT specialist, surveyed 570 adults in the region, and found 62% of wireless subscribers currently own two or more such devices.

Some 98% of interviewees used handsets as a communications medium, while 32% also saw handsets as a key entertainment channel.

Among the most popular mobile activities are sending text messages, attracting 97% of participants, and 33% had updated their social media status on the move.

Similarly, 39% of respondents employed these gadgets as "mini-computer", measured against 22% in North America and Europe, and 29% in Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Oracle therefore argued that offering appealing data packages and apps should prove an effective strategy in engaging local shoppers.

Seven in ten contributors had accessed email on a mobile phone and 34% obtained directions in the same fashion, totals reaching 44% and 21% respectively worldwide.

Over two-thirds of the panel agreed they could be persuaded to switch networks where lower prices were available.

Indeed, 88% outlined a willingness to consider non-traditional players in this field if the quality and cost of services equalled the standards of established operators.

A further 58% would also listen to or watch ads in exchange for 5% credit on monthly bills.

Looking ahead, 58% predicted mobile phones may replace digital cameras in five years time, standing at 36% regarding credit cards and 34% concerning personal computers.

"Mobile users are rapidly accepting new technological capabilities, price and reliability are still the driving factors in their decisions to select - and stay with - providers," said Bhaskar Gorti, svp and general manager, Oracle Communications.

"Staying on the cutting-edge by providing innovative new content and applications is critical, but providers must ensure that the 'brass tacks' - service activation, delivery, and billing - are seamless, accurate and fast."

Data sourced from Zawya; additional content by Warc staff