Almost half of mobile phone users worldwide are still only accessing voice and SMS services, a new consumer study by GSMA Intelligence said.
The Global Mobile Engagement Index split users into four tiers: aficionados (the most engaged); pragmatists; networkers; and talkers (the least engaged). The last group, which use devices for voice and text services, made up 47 per cent of adult mobile phone owners in 2016.
However, this is expected to drop to 29 per cent of the total by 2030, as users across the developing world benefit from “advances in mobile innovation, affordability and availability”.
The report also found South Korea, Qatar and the US were the highest-scoring markets in terms of mobile engagement.
Some interesting trends were also identified in specific markets.
In several African countries there is high user engagement in financial services. For example, in Kenya and Tanzania around four in every five adult mobile phone owners use devices for money services.
In Myanmar, smartphone ownership is relatively high, but user engagement is low due to digital illiteracy and a lack of locally relevant content.
Traditional SMS is still used more frequently than IP messaging in several mature markets, including France and the US.
There is also a gender gap in mobile internet usage in several markets. In India, for example, female mobile phone owners are 43 per cent less likely to use mobile internet services than males.
GSMA Intelligence surveyed mobile users across 56 global markets representing 80 per cent of the world’s population. The study – here – will be updated on an annual basis.