47% of mobile users still only call and text

16 Feb 2017

Despite the great strides being made to bring mobility services to the global population, recent research indicates that nearly half of mobile users worldwide still only use their devices to make calls and send SMS.

The consumer research from GSMA Intelligence, covering 56 markets collectively representing 80% of the world's population, found that 47% of adult mobile phone owners only make calls and send texts.

But this segment is expected to shrink to 29% by 2030 as users across the developing world benefit from advances in mobile innovation, affordability and availability.

The report ranked countries covered in terms of their citizens' mobile engagement, or the frequency and diversity of use of mobile devices. South Korea and Qatar ranked equal first in terms of engagement. The only other APAC nation to make it into the top 10 was Australia in seventh place.

“In an era of mobile being near ubiquitous around the world and at the centre of people’s lifestyles, there is a growing need to measure mobile user engagement levels to identify future industry growth opportunities,” GSMA chief strategy officer Hyunmi Yang said.

“Consumer behaviours are continuing to change as mobile devices get smarter, services grow richer and societies become more connected. The Global Mobile Engagement Index is a unique industry tool to help understand these shifting trends.”

The research found that in some markets – such as Myanmar – smartphone ownership is relatively high but engagement remains low due to digital illiteracy and a lack of relevant local content.

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