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July 14, 2009

Size Does Matter, for Cell Phones

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

Cell phones are loaded with features, including cameras, music players, Web browsers, e-mail, and video-streaming capabilities. However, according to an online retailer of cell phones and wireless plans, most U.S. cell phone buyers still say that these fancy features are not important when it comes to choosing a phone.
Wirefly released the results of a survey of customers who purchased new wireless phones and new service plans from the company's Web site. The objective of this survey was to find out criteria buyers looked for when purchasing a new cell phone.
The company surveyed 2,391 Americans, age 18 and older, revealing that, despite the millions of dollars spent by major U.S. cell phone carriers highlighting new advanced features and functionality, three out of five consumers are less concerned with high-tech features than they are with the basic form factors, such as the size and the color of the phone.
The following factors take precedence over cutting-edge technology features:
  • Size and Form – 59 percent
  • Color – 16 percent
  • Other – 25 percent cite "other" which means either ease of use, size of the keypad, the need for a large display screen, and affordability
"The major carriers have done a great job of building sophisticated features into their networks and phones," said Brian Westrick, president, Consumer Wireless Division for "Our customers have told us that those features are secondary to simplicity, reliability and affordability.”
The study indicated that a majority of respondents purchased cell phones with photo, video streaming, Web browser/email and music player capabilities, but only a fraction consider them to be necessities and some report never using these features.
Of course age plays a significant role. Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents 50 years and older claim to only use their phone for calls, while 5 percent of respondents 24 years and younger only use the phone for calling.
Users most engaged in "enhanced" applications are those in the 31-40 age range. This group, the report said, uses their phones to listen to music, check email, and have used GPS on their phone more than their counterparts. The 24-30 age range is most likely to watch videos and play games on their phone at least weekly.
The ability to watch videos and play games on a cell phone has a lot to do with the size. Users who usually buy a bigger sized screen are probably more inclined to watch videos and/or play games.
Duluth, Ga.-based Telchemy (News - Alert), a company that develops technology that enables service providers and major enterprises to deploy and manage Voice over IP, Video over IP, Audio/ Video Streaming and Networked Game services, wants to make sure 3G cell phone users have the best experience possible.
According to company officials emerging 3G, 4G and IMS cellular services carry a wide range of multimedia traffic over IP based networks.
“Number portability brings the opportunity of converting wireline subscribers to cellular but also increases the risk of unhappy customers changing to other service providers. It is imperative that cellular service providers have the management tools they need to support reliable delivery of real time services,” Telchemy officials said.
Therefore, the company developed VQmon which can be directly integrated into 3G cellular handsets, trunking gateways and mid-stream routers and switches. VQmon provides visibility of service quality problems for both Voice and Video services.


Service providers can immediately locate a problem with their voice or video service and eradicate the issue before it become visible to the cell phone user.
For more information on how Telchemy can help visit their Web site or learn more about them on their 3G, VoIP, IPTV Performance Management channel here on TMCnet.

Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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