Mobile Phone Problems Not Surprising

Mobile Phone Study Provides Few SurprisesIt 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.

Mobile Phone Study Provides Few Surprises

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

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • http://twitter.com/terrence_oleary Terrence O’Leary

    None of the respondents complained about sub-standard battery performance?

    • Ron Schenone

      WOW! Great point. If I don’t charge my phone at least once a day it doesn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryMonmouth Harry Monmouth

    New tech is bound to be problematic. We are always buying our phones on the cutting edge. What I would like to know which I don’t believe has been adequately answered is, do any of the cheaper phones released with tech that is a couple of years old ever succeed in providing a good user experience?

    We know that if we buy a top range phone that is brand new then it is almost inevitable that it will have faults but these phones that are using older tech should be able to perfect what was not done properly in the emerging devices. How do they compare to the toprange phones in which their tech was first introduced years ago? If we do not need cutting edge are we better off buying one of the toprange phones once their price is lowered or are we better off buying one of the newer phones at a cheaper price using older similar tech to that which was released in the previous toprange phone before it was perfected?

    • Ron Schenone

      Hello Harry, I may just be able to help and write something up. You see, when it comes to cell phones, I am currently using two older smartphones on a prepaid plan that work perfectly for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bitemore.gfotwo Bitemore Gfotwo

    As a relative newcomer to Android, with unlimited texting, I find that I am hounded by spam from both my provider and other (unknown) sources. The greatest annoyance is that the carrier offers call-blocking, but for an extra $3.99/mo. Sorry, but it should NOT be up to me to pay to block unwanted calls/texts! Blocking should come with the service contract! I’ve learned to deal with it by telling friends/relatives 1) if the call is urgent, call the land-line. 2) I prefer texts, but may not respond immediately (I NEVER use the phone while driving). 3) If I really don’t want to be bothered, I turn the volume OFF; and 4) because I have to charge it at least overnight, I make sure that volume is turned off! Mostly, I hate phones. I hate ALL phones. But, they’re still a necessary evil so I have them, but in the overall scheme of things, I much prefer email to any other means of communication over a distance. I WILL be the one who decides what to do with MY time (and I am retired so I can do this)!