Youth hooked on mobile messaging, voice calls still important
The interviewees, identified as “digital frontrunners”, were from Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Norway, Sweden, Serbia, and Hungary.
Despite not dominating in the time spent on it, traditional mobile calls are seen as the most important service type in all the countries except Malaysia.
Thailand and Malaysia are the most digital of Telenor’s surveyed markets; Malaysians stand out as the most eager users of messaging apps, with the vast majority (62%) ranking them as the most important communication tool.
More than 80% of the Malaysian frontrunners use messaging apps on a daily basis compared to 49% for SMS. Looking back to the same survey in 2012, the numbers were reverse.
This strong position of messaging apps is mainly due to the success of WhatsApp amongst Malaysian frontrunners. In Thailand, Internet voice calling (32%) is a close competitor to ordinary mobile calls (35%) as the “most important” communication tool.
Serbia stood out in the survey, albeit in another sense than Malaysia. Serbia has by far the highest share of frontrunners who use ordinary phone calls and SMS on a daily basis. The large majority use traditional mobile voice calls at least once a day (94%). Yet, they are on par with Malaysia and Thailand when it comes to frontrunners’ use of messaging apps (85% use them daily).
Digital frontrunners in Hungary are ahead of their peers in Scandinavia and Pakistan when it comes to the daily use of messaging apps but behind Serbia and the Asian markets. While messaging apps are used by more than 70% on a daily basis, almost half of the Hungarian frontrunners still rank ordinary voice calls as the most important service for mobile communication.
Pakistan is an internet market still in the making, with traditional mobile calls and SMS dominating the communication habits. However, its digital frontrunners have embraced the new opportunities provided by digital communications. Almost half of those surveyed use a variety of messaging apps and more than a third use internet voice and video calls on a daily basis.
In the mature mobile internet markets of Norway and Sweden, a high share of the frontrunners still rate SMS and in particular mobile voice calls as the most important communication tools. 38% of the Norwegian respondents and 34% of the Swedish ones make traditional phone calls several times a day. ■