Cell phone users hate dropped calls, text message spam most: Pew survey

Dropped calls still annoy cell phone users

Dropped calls remains the biggest annoyance for mobile phone users, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life project. Other major complaints include telemarketing calls, spam text messages, and slow wireless connections.

Pew’s survey of 2,254 U.S. adults between March 15 and April 3, 2012, found that approximately 88 percent of Americans now own some type of cell phone. Of those, 72 percent said they experience dropped calls, and 32 percent said they experience the annoyance “a few times a week or more.”

A full 68 percent of cell phone owners said they receive telemarketing calls, while 25 percent said these unwanted calls came in more than once a week. About 79 percent of cell phone owners use text messaging, the study found. And of those, 69 percent reported receiving spam text messages. A quarter of mobile users who text receive such messages repeatedly throughout an average week.

Approximately 55 percent of cell phone owners use their device to browse the Web or send email, Pew found. Seventy-seven percent of those users “experience slow download speeds that prevent things from loading as quickly as they would like,” wrote Pew. About 46 percent said they repeatedly experience slow download speeds.

Pew Cell Phone Survey

The numbers above represent all cell phone users. But Pew found these problems were exacerbated for users of smartphones, who remain a minority among U.S. mobile users. For example, 35 percent of smartphone users experienced dropped calls, while 28 percent of feature phone users suffered the same annoyance. Slow download speeds was the worst for smartphone users, with a full 49 percent suffering lagging load times, while just 31 percent of feature phone owners were made to wait longer than they would like.

“The big change that mobile connectivity has brought to users is the instant availability of people and data,” said Jan Lauren Boyles, the Pew researcher who authored the report, in a statement. “As mobile owners become fond of just-in-time access to others and as their expectations about getting real-time information rise, they depend on the cell phone’s technical reliability. Any problems that snag, stall, or stop users from connecting to the material and people they seek is at least a hassle to them and sometimes is even more disturbing than that in this networked world.”

While none of this should be particularly surprising, we should point out that the slow download speeds can easily be solved by upgrading to a 4G LTE-capable smartphone, which can achieve connection speeds equal to or greater than the average home broadband connection. To find the best smartphone for you, click here.

What do you think is the most annoying aspect of owning a mobile phone? Let your complaints flow in the comments!

Image via Ronen Boidek/Shutterstock