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    On the 50th anniversary of the first mobile phone call,  study finds people would rather give up the gym, sports, Netflix — even sex — than their phone

    Fifty years after the first mobile phone call was made on 3 April 1973, a study finds that nearly 72% of people couldn’t imagine going more than a weekend without their mobile phone, while nearly a quarter (23%) believe they could last an hour at most.

    The survey, commissioned by Sinch, finds consumers more willing to give up the gym (41%), TV (25% of millennials) or even sex (22% of Gen Z respondents) than their mobile phones.

    Marty Cooper’s first phone call from a 6th Avenue New York sidewalk unleashed a new era of mobility and choice for consumers. However, today’s mobile world looks very different than it did in 1973. People expect to be able to easily converse with each other and with businesses across all mobile and digital channels and see the next 50 years building on this omnichannel approach, with new options like social media and chat augmenting existing solutions such as text, email, and voice. They want personalized experiences from the brands they buy from and to communicate with them on the favourite channels they choose at every stage of their buying journey.

    Therefore, when asked about potential new options in 2073 that could supplement text, chat, email, and voice; 38% predict most communications to happen in the metaverse or virtual worlds; 28% expect neural implants that connect to the Internet to share thoughts; 25% will use augmented reality, while 34% feel we’ll also still be using text messages.

    “From the first mobile phone call 50 years ago, a communications revolution was born. This study underscores     just how integral the mobile phone is to our everyday lives — with many prepared to give up their favorite things rather than their phones,” says Robert Gerstmann, chief evangelist and co-founder of Sinch. “Clearly, businesses that  can invite their customers in for a true two-way conversation — whether by text, phone, social app, email, or chatbot — will be the winners today and in tomorrow’s mobile worlds. Yet companies often struggle to deliver personalized experiences at scale because channels, tools, and communications are siloed and not designed to work together with the customer at the centre. We can see from a survey like this that consumer demand will drive businesses to change.”

    The study also finds that consumers prefer to communicate with businesses just as they do their friends, via seamless conversations across multiple channels. Text messages were ranked by respondents as their favourite way of conversing with a business, followed closely by voice calls and email. However, 36% say text messages from businesses are too impersonal, and 1 in 4 get frustrated when they can’t respond to a business text message.

    Most consumers couldn’t go more than a weekend without their mobile phone — and many could not deprive themselves for an even shorter time. Asked how long they thought they could last without their mobile phone: 72% said they couldn’t last more than a weekend without their mobile phone; 56% said they couldn’t go more than 24 hours; 42% said 4 hours or less; and 8% said 15 minutes or less.

    Sinch’s technology powers hundreds of billions of global conversations between customers and businesses: its Super Network enables 300 billion minutes of voice calls annually and delivers over 200 billion text messages and 400 billion emails each year.

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