WHILE MOST TIME is spent on messaging apps, today’s young consumers still rate mobile-phone SMS (short message service) and calls as intrinsic to their communication habits, according to a study. And there’s a new challenger on the market as Internet call
In a Telenor Research study conducted last November and December, mobile users aged 16-35 years in Telenor Group’s markets in Asia and Europe were interviewed about their mobile communication habits.
The interviewees, identified as “digital front runners”, were from Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Norway, Sweden, Serbia and Hungary.
The way this group uses the Internet on their mobiles gives good indications on the future developments of communications services and how the wider demographic in the respective countries will adopt mobile Internet in the years ahead.
“Compared [with] our previous surveys of digital front runners, we observe a general trend towards increased use of Internet-based communication on mobiles,” said Bjorn Taale Sandberg, head of Telenor Research. “However, the survey shows that the preferences differ from market to market.
“Traditional telco services like voice calls and SMS are still an important part of the communication habits in most of the surveyed countries.” Despite not dominating in the time spent on them, traditional mobile calls are seen as the most important service type in all the countries except Malaysia.
In that country, a major shift has already happened in the communication market, but Thailand and Serbia seem to be hot on their heels.
Thailand and Malaysia are the most digital of Telenor’s surveyed markets. Malaysians stand out as the most eager users of messaging apps, with the majority (62 per cent) ranking them as the most important communication tool.
More than 80 per cent of the Malaysian front runners use messaging apps on a daily basis compared with 49 per cent for SMS. Looking back to the same survey in 2012, the numbers were reversed.
This strong position of messaging apps today is mainly due to the success of WhatsApp among Malaysian front runners. In Thailand, Internet voice calling (32 per cent) is a close competitor to ordinary mobile calls (35 per cent) as the “most important” communication tool.