Emerging TechnologyMobileText Messaging Outpaces Voice in U.K.

Text Messaging Outpaces Voice in U.K.

Text overtakes voice calls among U.K. mobile users, while characteristics of six distinct groups emerge.

Six tribes of mobile phone users exist in Great Britain. The characteristics of each tribe and the demographics of young adults are defined in “The Mobile Life Report,” a study conducted by The Carphone Warehouse in association with the London School of Economics and Lord Philip Gould.

Text messaging outpaces voice for many mobile users, narrowing what the report calls the talk ratio. Among 18-24 year olds, 51 percent send and receive a minimum of six text messages a day; only 15 percent have six or more conversations on their wireless phones. The trend exists but is not as pronounced for mobile users ages 25 to 29.

For voice or text, 26 percent of mobile users age 18 to 24 think their cell phones matter more than their TVs. Eleven percent place TV ahead of mobile phones. Women in the age group rank their mobile phones (32 percent) ahead of TV (11 percent). Men bring the average down, with 19 percent putting mobile service ahead of TV.

The study identifies six distinct tribes of mobile phone users:

  • Generation Mobile: Style-conscious mobile subscribers; singles, students, or first jobbers aged 18 to 24
  • Phonatics: Single, employed professionals aged 18 to 34 who count their mobile phones as their most important electronic possession
  • Practical Parents: Cost-conscious, young parents aged 18 to 34 who select phones and subscription options based on price rather than style or function
  • Smart Connectors: Affluent families and professionals aged 25 to 44 who use their mobile phones to organize their busy work and social lives
  • Fingers and Thumbs: Married, middle-aged or retired subscribers with children or grandchildren.
  • Silver Cynics: Affluent, married-with-children subscribers approaching retirement

The report finds an increase in the citizen journalism trend. Half of respondents said they would record evidence, and 47 percent would record a crime in progress. Thirty-six percent said they would use mobiles to snap celebrity or newsworthy events if given the opportunity. What actions mobile shutterbugs would take with the content as far as posting to blogs or sending clips to news organizations wasn’t discussed in the findings.

Although 47 percent of working mobile users never or hardly ever turn off their phones, 41 percent say their phones make them too reachable to their employers. Fifty-seven percent think it’s unreasonable to bring a mobile phone on vacation for frequent, work-related calls.

Over 16,500 people were surveyed by polling organization YouGov.

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