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SURVEY SHOWS: TWO DIFFERENT WIRELESS USERS

SAN FRANCISCO-Results from a recent survey of wireless phone users showed personal communications services users are more likely younger, male professionals, while cellular users are more often older women, although all wireless users are more likely to use their phones for personal rather than business calls. The 1997 survey results were presented by Peter D. Hart of Peter D. Hart Research Associates in the opening session of the Wireless ’97 show last week.

The company said it conducted the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association-commissioned survey during one week in February involving 477 cellular telephone users and 523 PCS users in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas where competition exists among three or more wireless providers.

Hart said the most telling question was whether a more established company is more important or innovative features are more important to users: The figures were nearly opposite between PCS respondents and cellular respondents. Of cellular users, 61 percent think service from an established company is more important and of PCS users, 61 percent believe a company offering innovative features is more important. Hart said these results fall right in line with user profiles. The PCS user is more likely an early technology adopter and therefore will place importance on new features, while comfort, safety and security-reliability-are more important to the cellular user.

Interestingly though, both groups felt the same about the importance of improving basic service, with 73 percent of cellular users and 75 percent of PCS users answering improving basic service is more important than developing new services.

Though the survey reported the bottom line for the industry is price, Hart cautioned, “Price is not going to be the whole ball game.” Nearly 40 percent of both groups of users said cost per minute and monthly charges were the most important concerns and more than 70 percent of all wireless users say the cost per minute and monthly charges were extremely important elements to them when deciding which wireless service to use.

The study reports that the key for the wireless industry is to hold the line on price. More than half of both cellular and PCS users expect the price of service to remain the same during the next year.

Hart’s 1996 study showed 34 percent of all wireless users reported more than one wireless phone in their household. This year’s survey reports 44 percent of PCS users and 39 percent of cellular users have more than one wireless phone in their household. Hart says the key to this question for the industry is, “Can I make this your primary phone or secondary phone?” According to the research, members of upper-income households, longtime wireless users and big wireless spenders are more likely to have more than one phone.

Hart pointed out that there are large differences between the two user groups over technology awareness. Of PCS users, 76 percent know that they have digital service while only one in four cellular users know they have analog service. “We’re going to have to have more education and communication on cost and on technology,” said Hart.

Survey results showed that digital service does have a premium status in the mind of the consumer and when it comes to satisfied customers, PCS service ranks slightly higher than cellular service although both user groups report high overall satisfaction with cellular users reporting 67 percent and PCS users reporting 73 percent overall satisfaction.

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