Survey: consumers confused on cellular network generations

Ambiguous marketing by some mobile network operators and the numbering of Apple’s iPhone models has resulted in 46% of iPhone 4 users thinking that they are already using a 4G-capable phone, according to a recent survey published by Analysys Mason, an advisor on telecom, technology and media.

As well as some degree of public indifference towards smartphones, the report points to confusion for consumers about different cellular network generations and where their phone fits into the picture, says Analysys Mason (London, England).

“Consumers are, for the most part, ill-informed about what 4G is and what it enables,” says Martin Scott, the author of the report and a Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason. “Mobile network operators’ ability to articulate the benefits of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 4G to the average consumer will have a significant impact on take-up of these technologies.”

The report also found that almost half (46%) of mobile phone users that have not already bought a smartphone do not feel they have the motivation to upgrade. The report found that the high price of smartphones and the perceived lack of need for functionality are contributors to consumer apathy around the latest handsets.

The research is based on a survey of 7485 consumers in 6 European countries and the USA. The survey covers a wide range of topics and issues related to the adoption and usage of, and attitudes towards, all telecoms services, including fixed and mobile broadband, fixed and mobile voice, and TV and video services.

The survey also found that the average amount of media and telecoms time that the survey’s respondents are exposed to is 8.8 hours per day.

Of fixed broadband subscribers surveyed, 12% would like to change provider in the next 6 months. Customer service, rather than speed, reliability or even price, is the most-important factor for these individuals.

The survey found that 27% of respondents now use some form of software VoIP, and Skype holds a 78% share.  Also, more than 67% of respondents take their mobile phone overseas. They are mostly used for text messaging when abroad (by 49% of consumers), but use of over-the-top (OTT) messaging services and Wi-Fi is increasing.


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