10 June 2007

Home truths about telecoms

Mobile operators and handset-makers are turning to social scientists, and in particular to anthropologists, the better to understand how telephones are used. Some of their findings are quite unexpected. A typical user spends 80% of his or her time communicating with just four other people. Despite much talk of "convergence" within the industry, people are in fact using different communications technologies in distinct and divergent ways. Even when people are given unlimited cheap or free calls, the number and length of calls does not increase significantly. Private communications are invading the workplace. Migrants are the most advanced users of communications technology.