50% of Mobile Phone Owners Worldwide Use Them for Calls, SMS – GSMA Report

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African American young men text messaging on PDA. (Photo Courtesy)
African American young men text messaging on PDA. (Photo Courtesy)

A new Global Mobile Engagement Index (GMEI) research by the GSM Association’s Intelligence has indicated that a half of mobile phone users worldwide still only use their devices to make voice calls and send SMS.

The GSM Association represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

The Index is based on inputs from the 2016 GSMA Intelligence consumer survey, which surveyed mobile users across 56 global markets representing 80 per cent of the world’s population.

It classifies mobile user engagement into four tiers of ‘Aficionados’ (the most engaged), ‘Pragmatists’, ‘Networkers’ and ‘Talkers’ (the least engaged).

The research reveals that ‘Talkers’ (those who only use their mobile phones to make voice calls and send SMS) accounted for 47 per cent of adult mobile phone owners in 2016.

According to the Index, this segment is forecast to shrink to 29 per cent of the total by 2030 as users across the developing world become more engaged due to advances in mobile innovation, affordability and availability.

In the insights offered by the report; South Korea, Qatar and the US were the three highest-scoring markets in terms of mobile engagement.

It further indicates that traditional SMS is still used more frequently than IP messaging in several mature markets, including France and the US.

On the part of Africa, the report indicates that there are several African countries with high mobile user engagement in financial services; for instance, in Kenya and Tanzania, around four in every five adult mobile phone owners use their phones for mobile money services.

“More than 70 per cent of smartphone users globally watch free online videos on their phone (e.g. YouTube), and one in two smartphone users watch or replay live TV programmes on their device.”

“More than 70 per cent of smartphone consumers use their device to research information about products and services, but only one in two use it to order and purchase goods.”

“There exists a gender gap in mobile internet usage in several markets. In India, for example, female mobile phone owners are 43 per cent less likely to use mobile internet services than males.”

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