Sanyo, Motorola Top Cell Phone Satisfaction

J.D. Power and Associates has released its 2007 Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Survey and finds Sanyo and Motorola tied for first place markets among mobile phone manufacturers. The survey also found that consumers are hanging on to their wireless phones longer: in 2007, consumers owned their wireless phones for an average of 17.5 months, up from 16.6 months since 2006.

The study asked respondents about satisfaction with their mobile handsets on five main factors: physical design, operation, features, durability, and batter function. Although Sanyo and Motorola tied for overall top marks, te study found the Motorola phones were ranked particularly well for physical design, operation, and features, while Sanyo phones got high marks in operation and batter functionality. Phone makers Samsung and LG were also ranked above the industry average…which kinda implies Kyocera, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and UTStarcom (Audiovox) were either at or below the industry average.

The study also found the 69 percent of all cell phones owned by respondents were a clamshell design, representing a 19 percent increase over figures from 2006. Another 29 percent of phones owned were candybar phones, while 2 percent were a slider design. The most-used handset features included speakerphones (51 percent), cameras (35 percent), messaging services (22 percent), and gaming (16 percent).

The study also found that the amount of month consumers are spending on phones dropped from an average of $103 in 2002 to $93 in 2007; the price decline has been driven by discounts offered by handset manufacturers and wireless operators to motivate customers.

The increase in the length of time consumers are holding on to their phones is the first reported since the studies got underway in 2002; back then, consumers held on to their phones an average of 18.4 months.

“One possible reason for this significant increase in the length of handset ownership is that more customers are initiating or renewing their service contracts for a longer period–typically for two years, as opposed to just one year,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “While these longer contracts help wireless carriers recover the costs associated with offering subsidized cell phones, customers tend to hold on to their current cell phones longer to avoid termination fees when switching service, which may ultimately lead to lower renewal rates.”