A look into Austria's pockets shows that the mobile phone is an indispensable everyday companion. 89% of Austrians always have their mobile with them when they leave home - more often than they bring along their bank card, driver's license or schedule book. Austrians need their mobile phone more than their car, television or watch. Being reachable and security are the most important reasons for owning a mobile phone. At the same time, cost-consciousness is on the rise: 43% of mobile phone users regularly seek information on the newest tariff options - nearly twice as many as the year before.
Market and opinion research institute GfK Austria, under contract from mobilkom austria, recently carried out its eighth study of usage habits among Austrian mobile phone users. 1,000 mobile phone users over the age of 12 were surveyed between March and April of this year.
"Austrians do not want to do without their mobile phones. To be available while on the go and able to contact family and friends at any time is considered a positive prerequisite for everyday life. At the same time, conscious use of the mobile is gaining ground: Calls are returned more reliably, the mobile is increasingly set on silent and identifiable callers are appreciated," explains Dr. Boris Nemsic, CEO mobilkom austria and CEO Telekom Austria Group.
The Mobile Phone in Everyday Use: More Important than Watch, Television, Car and Newspaper
Austrians can least do without the Internet (2%), their mobile phone (4%) and their bank card (4%). Only then follow the car, watch, television, schedule book, newspaper and a good cup of coffee in the morning. 89% of Austrians always have their mobile with them when they leave home - only the wallet is brought along more often (97%). In comparison, the bank card (85%), divers license (72%), schedule calendar (22%) or reading material (11%) are brought along less often. Nearly every second person surveyed (48%) can no longer imagine life without a mobile phone.
Ability to be Reached and Security Main Reasons for Owning a Mobile Phone
The desire to always be reached makes the mobile phone a vital companion: 89% of those surveyed want to be able to reach their family, partner and friends any time, while 77% always want to be reachable themselves. Every third person needs to be available by mobile phone at all times for work (35%). At the same time, the number of those who are uncomfortable always being reachable is sinking: While nearly half of those surveyed in 2006 felt that way (48%), this year only one in three agreed (33%). The mobile phone also represents personal security for 81% of Austrians. 86% believe that elderly persons should have a mobile phone for emergency situations, 74% feel children should have mobiles. The age at which children should first be given mobile phones has remained unchanged at 11 years since 2004.
Mobile Phone Discipline: Reliably Returned Calls and Visible Caller Identification
The desire to be reachable at all times is becoming increasingly significant, while the number of mobile phone calls per day has remained relatively constant since 2004: In total, an average of 11 calls are now made every day. "The expectation of being able to reach people at any time respectively of being reachable oneself leads to improved discipline among mobile phone users," says Prof. Dr. Rudolf Bretschneider, CEO of GfK Austria. In case of missed calls, 54% of those surveyed, that is one in two, generally return the call. 38% call back if the caller has left a message. 74% also make their phone number visible to the person called; only 4% say they hide their number. "Users also demand such transparency. Every third mobile phone user will not answer if the caller's number is not visible. The most common reasons for this are concerns about harassment, no interest in the call and the anonymity of the caller," continues Bretschneider.
Mobile Increasingly Set on Silent
Austrians' desire to be available at all times leads to mobiles being switched off less frequently and instead being set to silent more often. Per day, the mobile is today set on silent for 4.5 hours (2006: 3.4 hours) and switched off for 4.2 hours (2006: 4.5 hours). The main reasons are professional meetings, theater/movies/concerts as well as doctor's appointments or dining out. Users continue to highly value not being disturbed at night: 84% of those surveyed say they switch off their mobiles at night (2006: 78%).
Mobile Phone Also Vital to Austrians During Vacation
Not only at home, on vacation as well the mobile phone is an indispensable companion. 84% of Austrians take their mobile phone along on vacation, three-quarters feel safer as a result. On the airplane, 84% of those surveyed keep their mobile in their hand luggage, though every second person feels safer when the device is switched off. Every second person surveyed checks in with their family more frequently when traveling thanks to the mobile phone.
Alarm Clock, Watch and SMS: The Most Important Mobile Phone Functions on Vacation and At Home
Both on vacation as well as at home, the most important mobile phone functions besides voice calls are alarm clock, watch and SMS. In Austria SMS remain as popular as ever: 79% of mobile phone users take advantage of SMS. The leaders in this area are young people. 95% of those under 24 years use SMS regularly. Nearly ever second person over the age of 70 also uses SMS regularly (48%).
Rising Cost-Consciousness Among Austrian Mobile Phone Users
Along with the changes in mobile phone use among Austrian users, a rising cost-consciousness can also be observed. 43% regularly seek information on the most affordable tariffs and latest offers - nearly twice as many as in 2006, with 24%. 44% of those surveyed consciously tend to call those friends who have a mobile phone from the same operator. "This shows that the customers are watching the tough pricing competition on the Austrian mobile market very carefully," says Dr. Boris Nemsic, CEO mobilkom austria and CEO Telekom Austria Group.
High Interest in Further Development of Mobile Phone as Digital Camera
The high acceptance of mobile phones as an important communications tool serves to create a general interest among Austrians in further mobile communications developments. The digital camera in particular has great market potential: 65% of those surveyed expressed a strong interest in related technological developments. Two out of three mobile phone users today take photos with their mobile phones regularly (26%) or occasionally (33%). 52% expressed interest in further development of mobile phone-based navigation systems, 51% are interested in mobile e-mail and 47% in the further development of the mobile phone as a payment option. In general, the interest in mobile phone innovations grows from year to year."
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