Wireless carriers have been talking a lot about 4G lately – fastest, LTE, best network, largest 4G network, – but what does it all mean? Our clients are certainly asking us how this weighs into a consumer’s decision when picking out a new mobile phone. So, we decided to ask consumers a few questions to see just how savvy they are about this new technology.
Short answer: Not very!
For a bit of a longer answer, let’s look at this question first from the viewpoint of what consumers believe about current smartphones and their Operating Systems.
Breaking out the current US smartphone landscape, we currently have 4 major players in the Operating System space: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows Phone. We asked consumers to associate a single OS to a number of different statements regarding phones. Some of the results are not surprising at all, while a few of them certainly had me scratching my head. (For simplicity, I’ve only included the responses for Operating Systems that received 10% or more of the responses.)
Q: Which one operating system would you associate with each of the following statements? (Asked of wireless device owners, August 2011, n=1315) (There is a 46%/54% for Smartphone/Cell Phone owners)
Statement #1: “Coolest Mobile Phones”
Statement #2: “Mobile Phones are Easiest to use”
Statement #3: “Most Polished User Experience”
Statement #4: “Most 4G Capable devices”
Just to set the record straight – the iPhone 4 does NOT have 4G technology! The first thing that I’ve learned: consumers do not understand which devices offer them the 4G experience, and just sticking the number 4 into a device name will give you lots of street cred!
So, we’ve seen that consumers don’t really understand what platforms are offering 4G devices – but does it really matter, or is the buzz word enough to get consumers excited?
To the current Smartphone Owners in our survey we asked:
When shopping for a smartphone, which of the following features, if any, are a “must have” for you? (August 2011, n=535)
So, while clearly there is a lot of confusion out there, there is also a lot of interest. So, the carrier that can best explain why 4G matters and what 4G means to the everyday smartphone user may do the best job of converting people to its lightning fast service and network. Good luck!