Chicago, IL — If while walking around Chicago it seems like "everyone" has a wireless phone - you're nearly right. According to a recent survey conducted by Verizon Wireless, three out of five of Chicagoans who responded, or 61.4 percent, own a wireless phone. Further, 32.3 percent of Chicagoans surveyed report they have owned their wireless phone less than two years, suggesting a rapid growth in wireless users in the area. And use it they do, given the fact that most respondents, or 60 percent, make between one and five calls a day, and 23 percent make more than six calls a day, from their wireless phones.
What's more, with the attractive packages offered by wireless service providers that include a great deal of usage minutes and long-distance calling at attractive prices, using wireless phones for long-distance phones calls is growing in popularity among Chicago residents. Since purchasing a wireless phone, 45.8 percent of those surveyed report that they make fewer long distance calls from their home landline phone, and 21 percent said they made more than 75 percent of their long-distance calls wirelessly.
Cha-Cha-Cha-Changing? Not in the Windy City
Despite the fierce competition in the wireless industry, once Chicago residents sign on, they tend to be loyal customers to their wireless providers, with 55.5 percent of those surveyed reporting they have never changed wireless carriers.
It's Getting Personal
While wireless phones started primarily as a business tool, the survey shows that they have found a considerable consumer market in Chicago. More than half (58.8) of the residents surveyed said they use their wireless phones mostly or only for personal calls. In fact, the largest percentage (30.5) of people surveyed said they use their wireless phone only for personal calls.
Wireless Phones and Emergencies
And why do they have wireless phones? According to those Chicago residents surveyed, the most important reason cited, by 54.5 percent of respondents, is safety. Staying in touch with friends and family was the second most important reason (19.5 percent) followed by using it for business (12.5 percent).
Customers' actions fall in line with their emphasis on safety as nearly half (48.3 percent) of those surveyed reported they have used their wireless phones in an emergency situation, and of those who have made emergency calls, virtually all (93.8 percent) said having the phone helped them to get help sooner.
In addition, the majority of survey participants, 72.8 percent, also reported using their wireless phone in the car. While this finding suggests that being able to communicate while in a vehicle is an aspect of wireless technology that many Chicagoans find useful and convenient, the opportunity exists to place a greater emphasis on safety, as only 34 percent say they use a hands free device while driving.
Wireless Technology and the Internet
Thirty percent of Chicago residents surveyed reported they would use their wireless phones to connect to the Internet if the service were fast. With Verizon Wireless, it is. "With our launch of Express NetworkSM, customers now can access the Internet from their Verizon Wireless phones at significantly faster speeds than they could earlier," said Tracy Nolan, president, Illinois/Wisconsin Region, Verizon Wireless. "With data transmission bursts up to 144 kilobits per second (kbps), comparable to what most computer users get when using dial-up Internet service at home, a customer with Express Network can expect consistent speeds of 40-60 kbps. We anticipate that more and more Chicago residents will embrace this next generation of wireless technology and the many benefits it offers."
The Parker Group of Birmingham, Ala., conducted the survey of 400 Chicago residents in May and June of 2002. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30.3 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.
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