‘No, you can’t keep up with all the new phones’ – Cellphone screen is a myth
By News24 staffIn the past, the idea that you’d have to be a huge iPhone addict to get the latest phones was a common one.
But with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5S, many are questioning the notion that it’s as easy as buying a few of them.
“Cellular phones, in terms of how many times they can be used, are a myth,” said James Broughton, a lecturer at the University of Newcastle.
“A lot of people will take their mobile phone for long periods of time, and they’re going to be able to use them for quite a while, so you might as well take a couple of the newer ones and just get on with it.”
The idea that consumers should simply buy more phones was recently questioned by some of Australia’s biggest retailers, including the Woolworths supermarket chain and Kmart.
In an editorial published on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website last week, it claimed that the number of cell phone users had actually fallen, from about 1.4 million in the mid-2000s to around 1.3 million today.
“The evidence is pretty clear that consumers are not buying more cell phones and the number that are is declining,” the article said.
“It’s really clear that people are opting to use the phones for a variety of purposes, from keeping in touch with loved ones to making calls, and most of those are using them for the purpose of making calls.”
It continued: “The numbers of people who are still using their phones, at the end of the day, are declining, and it’s likely to remain so for some time to come.”
The argument that you could just get rid of a few phones would be sillyIn its latest report, the ACCC said that consumers were using fewer mobile phones, but were also more likely to switch to cheaper handsets, which were becoming more popular.
“With the recent uptake of the iPhone 5 and 5s, there’s been a change in the way we’re viewing mobile phone usage,” ACCC chief executive Chris Buck said in the editorial.
“In the previous generation, the number who had used mobile phones was quite small.
Today, we’re seeing an increase in the number and frequency of people that use mobile phones.”
It also found that people were spending more on phones than ever before, with the average person spending $1,600 a year on their phone.
But it argued that the reason consumers weren’t buying more phones and were instead getting a better deal on them was because they were getting their money’s worth.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that consumers have made the right choices when they’ve been on a high-speed plan, when they’re on a contract, when there’s no guarantee they’re getting the service they’re entitled to, when their phone is covered by a subsidy,” the ACCCs chief executive said.
In a statement to News24, Woolworth’s chief executive, Mark Thompson, said he thought consumers were getting more value for their money than ever.
“Woolworths has seen a significant increase in its customers’ smartphone use since the introduction of the 4G mobile network, and we have seen an increase of up to 50 per cent in the average cost per call, compared with a year ago,” Mr Thompson said.
“We have been working closely with customers to help them make the best decision for their needs.”
“This is why we are offering a range of plans which are tailored to suit different users’ needs.”
However, it added that consumers would have to look at what they were paying for the mobile phones.
“People are going to look for a price that’s right for them, and for that price, they’re not going to get a great deal,” Mr Buck said.
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