Home truths about telecoms (Economist)

  • 60% of men carried their phones in their trouser pockets, whereas 61% of women carried their phones in handbags
  • belt pouches were particularly popular in China: 19% of men used them in Beijing, and 38% in Ji Lin City, they were less popular in fashion-conscious Milan, where only 4% of men used them, and belt pouches were non-existent in Tokyo
  • adding covers to phones was most widespread in Seoul and Kampala, and the use of decorative phone straps was most popular in Seoul and Tokyo
  • a typical user spends 80% of his or her time communicating with just four other people
  • the fixed-line phone “is the collective channel, a shared organisational tool, with most calls made ‘in public’ because they are relevant to the other members of the household,”
  • mobile calls are for last-minute planning or to co-ordinate travel and meetings
  • texting is for “intimacy, emotions and efficiency”
  • e-mail is for administration and to exchange pictures, documents and music
  • instant-messaging (IM) and voice-over-internet calls are “continuous channels”, open in the background while people do other things
  • people seem to prefer typing
  • “… a flattening in voice communication and an increase in written channels,” – even when people are given unlimited cheap or free calls, the number and length of calls does not increase significantly – “users are showing a growing preference for semi-synchronous writing over synchronous voice,”
  • there is not much appetite for working while on the move (“the hypermobility myth”) – workers who spend more than half their time out of the office generally stick to communications while on the move, gathering information that they then work on when they get back to their desks – hotel rooms and airports are mainly used for e-mail
  • migrants are the most advanced users of communications technology – the “most aggressive” adopters

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