It may come as a surprise to the tech-savvy, high-end, data-enabled, mobile broadband-addicted among us, but there are plenty of mobile phone users out there who aren’t using smartphones. And it’s not just because they haven’t gotten around to upgrading yet: according to a survey conducted by market analysis firm Compete.com, some 65 percent of wireless device users do not plan to get a smartphone when they buy their next device. Instead, they’ll be sticking with “dumb phones,” or feature phones that lack the flexibility and applications of major smartphone platforms.
The survey was conducted back in November, and found that over one third (35 percent) planned to get a smartphone as their next mobile phone. The survey found some variations in the types of smartphones that current cellphone owners were eyeing as a smartphone purchase: folks looking to Sprint devices were more likely than folks considering other carriers to go for a “business-focused smartphone, while folks considering Verizon and AT&T were more likely to consider an “inexpensive” smartphone. T-Mobile and Sprint roughly tied for the number of people considering “advanced” smartphones, although the numbers of users considering T-Mobile and Sprint were substantially lower than those considering AT&T and Verizon Wireless. (It should be noted this survey was conducted before Verizon announced it would begin selling the iPhone in February.)
Among the 65 percent of respondents who said they planned to stick with “dumb” phones or feature phones, cost was cited as the most significant reason: between voice and text plans, data plans, bandwidth caps, and possible add-on services like acting as a mobile hotspot, smartphone bills can easily approach (or exceed) $100 per month. Other non-smartphone users felt that smartphones just didn’t offered compelling features: after all, most feature phones these days can take pictures, play music, and even GPS and Web browsing capabilities.