SMS Still Beating Internet On Australian Mobile Phones

SMS Still Beating Internet On Australian Mobile Phones

We’re big on mobile applications and telephone Internet access here at Lifehacker, and I suspect most of our readers are too. However, it’s worth remembering that for a large slice of the population, the most sophisticated data application on offer is a text message.

Picture by brymo

A global survey of phone usage by Sybase 365 found that while 81% of Australian mobile phone users use SMS at least weekly, just 24% use their phones for general Internet usage. A similar number (22%) use their phones for social networking.

When it comes to getting alert messages (from commercial or free services), our results are rather inconsistent. While 75% of us are interested in sports updates, only 26% want emergency services alerts. Cricket scores versus impending bushfires? Apparently it’s not much of a contest.


  • I suppose you don’t want emergency bushfire warnings for Kinglake if you live in the CBD. I suppose in the future the govt could use the location tracking ‘features’ of mobile phones to send location specific information.

  • Internet usage is low because of a fear on pricing. People don’t know they will be charged and so avoid it. As plans improve so will the figures, particularly if some sites/services become free for view like what the ABC offers via some ISPs.

  • I believe that the high sms rates and high net usage on portable devices stop many people taking advantage, in particular of the real capabilities of new smart phones like the iphone, samsung and htc handsets, they are pretty “dumb” phones with no internet access considering that internet access gives them so much more functionality.

  • While I would prefer to use internet for communication, there are three major problems.

    Connection: SMS is available almost anywhere, while TelCos still haven’t sorted acceptable data connections in most of the population.

    Compatability: Any phone can do SMS, most do MMS, but to move into ‘online’ comminication you need compatible software. The multi-IM programs are getting close, but…

    Access: If your phone is on, it can get an SMS. To get ‘online’ comminication you need to have an app running (unless push notifications are available for that application on that platform).

    At the moment, between my iPhone, 3G-enabled netbook and always-on desktops, I’m close to being always connected as possible, yet I still use SMS on a daily basis for the above reasons. And can see myself doing so for a long time.

  • Those figures reflect my usage and I’m a bit of a tech geek!
    Sadly, budgetary considerations mean that as much as I’d like to have a nice, fancy, touch screen phone with a big data plan, I have much better things to spend the $50+ on per month that you need to spend to have such a device and plan.
    My $30Cap and free, Series 60 Nokia from Virgin, do what I primarily need a Mobile for and give me some on-the-move data when I really need it, but the tiny screen reserves that usage for emergency situations when there’s no better option.
    My contract expires in August, so I’m holding out hope that Google strike a nice Nexus One Australia deal soon and at my pricepoint, but I’m doubting it will happen.

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