Mobile talk and text rules – social networking is a luxury

Consumers view call and text prices as more important than 3G and social networking capabilities, research commissioned by OpenCloud has found. In a survey of 1,000 consumers, over 80% of consumers see call and text prices as the most important factors when looking for a new phone, whereas two thirds of respondents view social networking applications as luxury additions and non-essential.

The ‘My Mobile Lifestyle’ survey, looking at consumer attitudes to mobile phone usage and types of services they desire, found the current economic uncertainty to be affecting the penetration of social media and 3G applications into the nation’s consciousness.

Respondents indicated that when mobile belt-tightening occurs, the first service to go is internet-based applications. Over two thirds (69%) of respondents say they would reduce their usage of mobile internet and social networking to decrease mobile bill payments.

Consumers are also willing to jump ship to another operator, for the right bundle at the right price. Over half (59%) of consumers would look to move their mobile provider to downsize their bills, whilst a similar percentage would look to transfer to pre-pay services to limit costs. Cost is key for customer purchasing decisions; the three most important for consumers is handset price, call price and text price. Social networking applications are only rated as extremely important for 5.5% of respondents.

Jeff Gordon, CEO at OpenCloud, stated: “It’s no surprise consumers are looking to be increasingly savvy with their spending as a result of the credit crunch. The results support the proposition that the fundamental reason people have phones is to communicate with each other, and that social networking isn’t as important to consumers as operators are leading the market to suggest.

“Consumers view 3G and social networking applications as luxury tools, and not essential for their mobile lifestyle. With 95% of operators’ revenue still coming from person-to-person communications, this research indicates that it will remain this way for the foreseeable future. Operators would be better placed focusing their energies on this side of the communications business, and innovating here, rather than putting all of their eggs in the luxury application market.”