Dont Call Me, and I Wont Call You

A multi-country study released today by research firm Lightspeed Research shows the increasingly prominent role that mobile phones are taking in our lives, and highlights the fact that for some people at least, the ability to make voice calls is now a redundant feature.
With ownership of mobile phones so high and so many different functions now available, Lightspeed says it is increasingly important to understand how people are using their mobile phones and what future opportunities there might be for new applications. To this end, the company surveyed 1,000 respondents online in each of four countries – the UK, France, Germany and the US  – between 11 and 15 June.  
Of the four countries surveyed, it was Americans (49%) and Britons (30%) who were most likely to agree that their mobile phone was now an essential part of their daily life and theyd be lost without it. 46% of people in Britain said they carried their phones with them most of the time, though surprisingly, it was 55-64 year olds who were most likely to do so. (I wonder how many brands are targeting that demographic via mobile Ed.)
Younger respondents (18-34) were the most likely to feel their mobile was an essential part of their daily life and that they would be lost without it. And two thirds (67%) of Brits leave their mobiles on at night – and only 14% of those switch it to silent.
Perhaps the most interesting finding from the survey is that in some markets, there are users who never make phone calls from their mobile. In the UK 11% of respondents never make calls; that figure is higher in the US at 13%. 33% of UK and 18% of US respondents make no more than two calls a week. Texting is hugely popular in the UK with half (49%) sending at least one SMS per day and 2% sending a picture or video message (MMS) daily. Women like to send more text messages than men with 56% compared to 42% sending at least one text per day; men make more daily voice calls 41% compared to 32% of women. 

Picture this
Mobile phones have evolved with new features such as cameras, games, Internet access and music now commonplace on basic handsets while Smartphones offer even more sophisticated applications such as video. And the results of the survey show that in fact these functions are becoming increasingly popular. In the UK, the most popular daily function is browsing the web at 9%, whilst on a weekly basis its taking photos (38% of respondents), followed jointly by browsing the web and playing games (22%) and sending a photo or video (18%).

Have mobile, will travel
Respondents were also asked about a number of new functions that they might like on their phone. In all countries a satellite navigation system was the top choice, with 49% of French, 44% of German, 43% of British and 38% of American respondents choosing that option. Being able to locate friends, family and children in real time through GPS functionality was the second preference in all markets except for Germany, where concerns over privacy prevailed. However it seems that the Japanese system of using the mobile phone to pay for public transport (like an Oyster card) isnt a popular option this failed to generate interest everywhere except Germany. Amongst the reasons given for rejecting this function included worries about making the phone a target for theft, concerns about cost, and fears of giving too much data to the phone company.
Commenting on the results, David Day, CEO of Lightspeed Research says:
There is no question that the mobile phone is an important tool for daily life for many of the people we surveyed, and that many people use the additional phone applications such as photos, video, music and the Internet. However, when we look at take up of some of the current functions, as well as those we may have in the future, consumers do express some concerns. There is real fear around data security and the increased risk of theft, and this is something the industry as a whole will need to address to encourage consumers to try new functionality such as mobile commerce.