As 3G cellular network rivalry intensifies, new research suggests a key selling point for the technology - fast mobile internet access - has failed to excite most consumers.
Research company Perceptive polled 1000 New Zealanders and found 91 per cent do not use their mobile phone to access the internet.
"Whether that's technology-driven - in that their phones just can't do it - is subjective," said Perceptive managing director Chris Pescott.
"But what we have found is that there is a very low number ofpeople actually accessing theinternet from their mobile phone."
Telecommunications companies Telecom and Vodafone have collectively spent hundreds of millions of dollars building third-generation mobile networks to reach 97 per cent of the population.
Yesterday Telecom announced details of call pricing and the handsets it will be selling when it starts its 3G network - dubbed XT - at the end of this month.
The company is hoping its $574 million investment in the new network will be recouped, in part, through increased enthusiasm for surfing the internet on mobile devices.
Across the Tasman, Telstra has recorded a large jump in the average revenue it generates from customers since beginning its 3G service.
While accessing the internet over mobile devices may not yet be a mainstream pastime, Perceptive's Attitude New Zealand survey did find what Pescott calls a "quite high" level of enthusiasm for online shopping.
According to the survey, 72 per cent of New Zealanders have used a credit card to shop online in the past six months, while a "very impressive" 83 per cent said they used internet banking services.
"We asked them about their [online banking] behaviour and it's typical banking behaviour - transactions between accounts, paying bills, checking balances, things like that," Pescott said.
The survey also found an acceptance, and high local usage of, social media including blogs and networking platforms such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace.
Almost a third of those surveyed said they read blogs regularly, while 8 per cent said they wrote blogs.
Facebook is used by 58 per cent of New Zealanders, including 38 per cent of those aged over 65.
The exploding international popularity for the micro-blogging platform Twitter, which allows users to broadcast messages (or "tweets") of up to 140 characters to a group of friends or online "followers", has been mirrored here.
The survey found 6 per cent of New Zealanders were regularly tweeting.
This is ahead of usage of the service in the United States where, according to a Harris Interactive poll last month, 5 per cent of the population tweet.
In New Zealand Twitter is now more popular than LinkedIn, a business-focused social networking platform which, according to the survey, is used by 3 per cent of the population.
Pescott said the high use of social networking services was in line with New Zealand's growing acceptance of social media as an everyday means of communicating both socially and, increasingly, for business purposes.
According to the survey, 88 per cent of people believe social media are "here to stay".
"The reason for using the internet has changed significantly.
"No longer is the internet regarded simply as the information super highway.
"The number one reason now is to communicate and social media is on the rise."
percentage of New Zealanders using social networking platforms:
* Facebook: 58 per cent
* Bebo: 18 per cent
* MySpace: 7 per cent
* Twitter: 6 per cent
* LinkedIn: 3 per cent
Source: Perceptive's Attitude New Zealand surveyBy Simon Hendery Email Simon