Dropped Calls or Missed Texts? Millennials Prefer Losing Calls in New Survey

Press release – April 29, 2016

By Steve Anderson, Mad Marketer

In what will likely serve as another blow to the mobile concept as we know it—and reaffirmation of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s projections that one day AT&T mobile would offer plans with nothing but data access—a new report has arrived from OpenMarket. The report noted that millennials, if faced with the choice, would rather lose the ability to make voice calls from mobile devices than lose the ability to text message.

Seventy-five percent of millennials noted they would rather lose the ability to call than text, and for a variety of reasons. Seventy-six percent noted that text messaging was “more convenient,” and could be done as needed instead of all at once like a phone call. Phone calls were also considered “less disruptive” to 63 percent of users, and a general preference for text was found for 53 percent of users. An additional 19 percent noted that they never actually check voicemails, so a preference for texting shone through in a completely different way.

Since millennials represent around one in four people in the United States right now, understanding their preferences is vital to finding ways to effectively engage with this massive bloc, and from there, providing goods and services found worthwhile. Text reminder messages from businesses are one great example; 75 percent of millennials find these messages helpful, but only 30 percent are actually receiving the messages, suggesting a clear opportunity for businesses to get ahead with millennials.

Millennials also want specific kinds of message more than others: product offers and coupons were cited by 62 percent, while 59 percent noted payment reminders for accounts and alerts of potential fraud. Fifty-six percent wanted order alerts or delivery confirmations, and 51 percent wanted reminders of appointment times. Fewer, but still substantial, numbers wanted prompts for security authentication at 32 percent, and surveys on customer satisfaction for 22 percent.

While Stephenson’s predictions of a data-only network plan didn’t pan out in the time frame he’d projected, it’s studies like this that make his words feel prophetic. Users are less interested in voice calls than in simple messages that can be addressed at any point in time. The good part about a data-only plan is that it actually encompasses everything; users can use voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) for voice service, send texts via data, and of course, surf the Web with data as well. Naturally, bandwidth caps prohibit much of this, but the combination of 5G access and a data-only network might well free up a lot more data, enough to make this possible.

A clear opportunity is on hand for businesses to connect by text message, and there’s a likewise clear mandate to pull voice service in future versions of mobile networks. With 5G only a few years off before a likely commercial release, the end result may well mean big changes in mobile service.