It is amazing how attached we have become to our mobile phone units. In fact, it is amazing to me how far we have come from the old rotary phones of my youth. It is hard to remember the days when a telephone operator was required to connect you to your neighbor’s phone or the days when you were required to share your telephone line with another party.
However, today is today and to the younger generation, rotary phones are consigned to the Smithsonian in Washington. iPhones and Android smartphones are the here and now. That being said, it was interesting to find a recently released report by Pew Research Center that compiled some facts for us about how we use our cellphones. In its April 2012 report and survey, Pew surveyed not only how we use our cellphones, but analyzed some of the major annoyances attached to using them. After reading the report, available as a part of the Pew Internet and American Life project, most of what was found will come as no surprise to anyone who uses a cellphone.
Who Answered the Survey?
The study, conducted between mid-March and the first week of April, 2012, polled Americans who use the Internet. In the project report, Pew researchers stated they had contacted approximately 2,200 people whose primary means of telephone communication consisted of either both landline and/or cellphone connections. For the purpose of this article, I am concentrating my efforts on Pew’s findings regarding those of us who use cellphones as our main communication device.
What Were Some of the Complaints from Cellphone Users?
- The primary complaint is that dropped calls still plague users.
- Consumers continue to be annoyed with unwanted sales and marketing calls.
- Texting by cell owners has increased, thus limiting social interaction.
- Over half of cellphone owners use their phone to go online.
- When online, most users complain about slow download speeds.
The complaint about texting always makes me laugh since it represents our family and the loved ones around us. When texting first became the rage, I recall that some in our family thought the idea was dumb, and since people were able to talk to each other, they should use their cellphone just as if it were a landline. However, now that they have discovered texting, these same people have changed their tune and my wife, for instance, has become prolific at texting and rarely makes phone calls. Our daughter, however, is worse and actually had to upgrade her texting to unlimited after she consistently ran over her allotted 1,000 texts per month quota.
How Bad Are the Problems for Cellphone Users?
According to the report, 72% of cellphone users stated that dropped calls remain a problem, with 32% of cellphone owners saying they experienced this problem at least a few times every week. The other major complaint, by 68% of the cellphone users surveyed, was that they received annoying marketing calls, with 25% of cell users stating that they encountered these calls several times a week.
In regards to texting, which accounts for some 79% of users, the biggest complaint was unwanted texts that contain spam. Here, 25% of users complained that they receive messages containing spam at least a few times a week.
Among those with newer or advanced cellphone capabilities, some 55% complained about slow download speeds. These users tend to go online using the basic Internet to surf, exchange emails, or download applications and found the slow download time annoying.
As you can see, none of the complaints are anything that you wouldn’t expect when discussing cellphone issues. However, what is most annoying to me is that, despite having legal restrictions in place that make it illegal to place unwanted calls to mobile users via automated or recorded messages, spam and unwanted phone messages from marketers continue to plague us.
For our grandchildren who use pre-paid plans, unsolicited text messages eat into their minutes and, therefore, into their disposable income. This makes it especially objectionable to them when commercial entities, which are prohibited to spam cellphone users, send them messages. To counteract these calls, we placed their phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This registry is intended to enforce government regulations that bar text messages from being sent from Internet domain names as well as commercial entities. However, there are a few exceptions to the rules and they are:
- Mobile-to-mobile spam messages are permissible as long as the messages are not generated by an automatic dialing device or system.
- Politicians, who write the laws to their satisfaction, are exempt from the law and can spam us with their campaign nonsense with impunity.
Another conclusion of the report, which also came as no surprise, was that smartphone users are more likely to receive spam. I believe that this is primarily due to the fact that more consumers are buying smartphones. Of course, one must then ask themselves why a savvy consumer wouldn’t buy a smartphone now that the cost of Android phones — with a smart user interface from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean — now comes standard. Who wouldn’t choose a smartphone that is usually faster and easier to use than their dumb counterparts?
That’s all folks there is folks. No surprises — just confirmation of the things you already know.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by robleto
Source: Pew Internet
Source: Pew methodology