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In-Stat: Carriers Build It, And Consumers Come

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Carriers are offering more and more handset features and services, and many consumers are interested enough in them to trade in their cellphones, an In-Stat consumer survey found.

People who intend to replace their cellphones are doing so mainly because they’re looking for such new features as GPS navigation, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the survey found. Improved battery life was cited by a much smaller percentage of people intending to buy a new phone in the foreseeable future.

More than 30 percent of cellular users polled complained about their phone’s battery life, but of those intending to replace a phone, only 10 percent cited battery life as the main reason for getting a new phone, said principal analyst Allen Nogee. In contrast, 32 percent of people intending to replace their current phone said they would do so because their current phone lacked a feature they wanted. In a survey this time last year, 34 percent cited the lack of a feature as their main reason for planning to buy a new model.

Among those intending to replace their phone, 54 percent wanted GPS directions and mapping. Navigation also topped the survey last year. Next, 50 percent of replacement buyers wanted Bluetooth, and 49 percent wanted Wi-Fi. Respondents could select more than one feature.

Replacement buyers are also interested in PDA phones. Only 9 percent of the people intending to replace a phone currently had a PDA phone, but 23 percent planned to make a PDA phone their next phone.

The survey also determined that Alltel subscribers had the worst time with their battery life. More than 50 percent of surveyed Alltel subscribers complained of poor battery life. T-Mobile subscribers were the happiest with their battery life, yet almost 25 percent cited battery life as their biggest dislike, In-Stat said.