Bye-Bye Telephones?

We recently conducted an online survey of consumers asking the following question: “What communications device is most important in meeting your communications needs?”  The general direction of consumer preferences was not surprising, but the spread of their preferences for different devices tends to corroborate and magnify our impressions of the directions being taken under the influence of technology, markets and regulations.

Wireline 0%
Cell phones 46%
Home Computers 50%
Other 4%

Not a single respondent identified the wireline phone as the “most important” home communications device, while half identified the home computer and nearly half cited the cell phone. While not a large sample, our survey tends to provide a coherent explanation for a variety of market phenomena including:

  • The steady erosion of traditional wireline connections and services sold by local telephone companies, and their replacement by other devices for messaging;
  • Demand for “broadband connections” to the home for more bandwidth intensive information transfers including video, voice and audio content; and
  • Continued growth, competition and diversification of communications services rendered via wireless devices.

These results highlight the pace of the “Digital Revolution,” the Mobilization of Telecommunications,” and the imperative, from the perspective of national communications policy, to find ways to attract greater investment in both wireless and wireline infrastructures that serve the demand for highspeed services using computers and wireless devices.

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2 thoughts on “Bye-Bye Telephones?

  1. What methods did you use and what is the sample size? I don’t agree that this is representative of the nation.

  2. The piece makes no claim of respresentation.

    For policy analysis and research studies, such as our Consumer Pulse Survey, ACI always uses a telephone survey conducted by a national survey research firm. These surveys are usually designed and tested (or weighted) to be representative of the nation and never have less than 800 responses.

    However, the figures used in this blog were from an online survey. First, online surveys like these are NEVER representative of the nation for two reasons — one, the respondents were self-selected; and two, there is always a bias favoring respondents that have access to the Internet. Instead, what this survey depicts is a representation of the ACI’s readership.

    While the piece points out that this was “not a large sample,” in this particular case, the small sample size is perfectly adequate. Let me explain why. For this small sample, we normally would have expected a large confidence interval (exceeding plus or minus 10%) if the results had been spread evenly among the survey choices. However, because no respondent chose “wireline telephone,” the actual confidence interval (when taken from statistical tables) is close to plus or minus 0%.

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