40% of people would rather lose wallet than mobile

Due to the high level of personal information stored on today’s mobile phones, almost half of respondents to a recent survey said that losing their handset would be worse than losing their wallet.

Research released by mobile device management company, Mformation, highlights that the mobile phone is becoming increasingly central to consumer lifestyles, with 40% of respondents claiming that it would be worse to loose their mobile, than their wallet.

A significant amount of information is now stored on mobile devices, with 94% of users surveyed store telephone numbers, while 65% also store address and other contact information on their phones. A further 83% have digital photos, 51% have videos, 48% have calendar information and 40% have music downloads. With ever increasing phone and network capabilities, this trend of using the phone to store valuable and sensitive data from every aspect of life is set to continue.

One consequence of using the phone as a method for creating and storing data and information is that people must now worry about this material if the phone is lost or stolen; 82% of people fear that if their phones were lost or stolen, someone would use the information stored on them for fraudulent means.

A whopping 90% of those questioned are worried about the loss of their personal data if a mobile device were to go missing, with 72% admitting that the personal information stored on their devices would be difficult to replace.

Matt Bancroft, vice president at Mformation, said: “Mobile phones are becoming more and more essential to user lifestyles. People can access the internet and store significant amounts of valuable personal information and other content on their mobile devices. With new advances in mobile technology arriving every day, this trend will only increase the role of the mobile device in peoples’ lives by providing us with increasing freedom to store, manage, send, and receive information.

“Mobile operators need to make sure that users are confident that their devices are secure, the data on those devices is protected, and device content can be backed up and recovered if a phone is lost or stolen,” added Bancroft. “Such a high level of dependency on mobile phones today means that operators need capabilities to help minimise risk and maximise trust,” continued Bancroft.

Because mobile phones are being used for such a wide range of activities, when a device is lost, it can prove to be devastating for the user. Altogether, 91% of people questioned in the UK and US said they would be ‘devastated’ if they lost their mobile phones. For this reason, it is unacceptable that three quarters of the people interviewed said that it would take a day or more to get a new phone fully up and running with all their personal data after a loss or theft. In fact, 61% of people said that this should take two hours or less.

“Operators need to step up to the mark to make sure that their customers are getting the service they expect in terms of security, data recovery and phone setup,” said Bancroft. “As people continue to increase their reliance on mobile phones for everyday actions, operators have to make sure that they are ready to support this increased commitment by the user. More extensive use of the device is great, but the mobile operators need to underpin this activity by offering capabilities to protect and manage users’ data if things go wrong.”

The research was undertaken by independent research house Coleman Parkes, which asked 4,000 people in the UK and US about problems related to mobile usage.