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Sprint measures mobile usage, spending trends
The number of mobile phones is going up

One-third of respondents to a Sprint survey say they are using their mobile phones to shop this holiday season.

Sprint has released the findings of the Sprint Survey on Mobile Value, which evaluated how U.S. consumers are using their mobile phones and making financial decisions in today's challenging economic times. This year, 72 percent of respondents decreased their overall household spending, with 22 percent spending the same and only six percent reporting an increase in spending.

"Sprint’s new survey indicates that consumers are watching their finances closely and that price matters," said Aaron Radelet, spokesman for Sprint, Overland Park, KS. "The survey found that more than half of respondents would switch their mobile phone carrier if they saved $300 or less a year.

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"While mobile is now considered a necessity by most, consumers are still looking for ways to save on their phone bills," he said. "For example, the survey shows many willing to consider family and set-price mobile plans, which Sprint is promoting extensively right now."

While watching their finances closely, 83 percent of respondents still choose to own a mobile phone, and more than half—56 percent—say they are "inseparable" from their mobile phone throughout the day. Sprint measures mobile usage, spending trends

Unlimited data plans gaining steam

One key finding from the survey is that consumers are saving by disconnecting their landline phone service and by switching to family and set-price mobile plans.

In addition, consumers are willing to switch mobile carriers for the right amount of savings.

More and more consumers—about one-third—are using their mobile phones to get the best deals while holiday shopping. Sprint measures mobile usage, spending trends

Mobile phones are replacing landlines

Sprint's online calculator lets consumers input their needs for mobile service, and then it suggests a plan.

The calculator shows how much the plan could mean in savings compared to AT&T and Verizon.

It also demonstrates in real dollars what those savings could buy. For example, $240 in savings is the equivalent of a car payment or a week of daycare expenses.

Disconnecting landlines

The Sprint Survey on Mobile Value showed that nearly one-third—32 percent—of respondents are likely to eliminate their landline service and rely solely on a mobile phone in order to save money.

Eighteen percent of respondents already do not have landline phone service at their home.

More than one third of mobile phone owners—36 percent—say a mobile phone is the only phone they will ever need.

When asked why they would give up their landline phone, three-quarters of respondents—76 percent—said they would disconnect in order to save money.

Family plans

Almost three-quarters—72 percent—of respondents are likely to use family plans for mobile phones in order to save money.

Sixty-seven percent of mobile phone owners have more than one mobile phone in their family/household, and of them, 78 percent have combined into a family plan or would consider it to save money.

Set-price data plans

Forty percent of respondents use their mobile phone for more than voice conversations, referring to the use of data services such as email, text messaging, Web browsing, picture sharing, GPS driving directions, TV watching and music listening.

Additionally, 47 percent would consider an unlimited data plan for a set monthly price in order to stay within their budget and avoid surprises.

Switching for savings

The Sprint Survey on Mobile Value found that more than half of respondents—54 percent—would switch their mobile phone carrier if they saved $300 or less a year.

Another 30 percent would switch for savings between $400 and $600, and still another 26 percent would switch for savings between $600 and $1,000.

Sprint offers a family plan that it claims can mean between $240 and $1,000 in annual savings based on comparable rate and service plans offered by Verizon and AT&T.

For example, Sprint's Simply Everything family plan with unlimited voice, data and messaging for two customers is more than $1,000 less per year than AT&T's similar plan, according to Sprint.

Holiday shopping

This holiday season one-third of mobile phone owners—33 percent—report using their mobile phone to get more "bang for their buck" when shopping.

The top ways they save money with their phone are to:
-- Call a friend (72 percent)
-- Take a picture of price tags/features of different products (35 percent)
-- Call other retailers for comparison pricing (26 percent)
-- Check prices via the mobile Internet (22 percent)
-- Look up other retailers in the area to see where else to visit (12 percent)
-- Call the store they are in to request a discounted price (11 percent)
-- Use a mobile coupon (6 percent)
-- Use a mobile shopping application like Slifter (1 percent)

One-third of all respondents—31 percent—were finished with holiday shopping more than two weeks in advance of Dec. 25 with an additional 31 percent halfway finished. Twenty-one percent had just started shopping, and 17 percent will start a few days in advance of Dec. 25.

Additional trending

The Sprint Survey on Mobile Value also found the following trends among respondents:
-- Sixty-eight percent believe their mobile phone is a time saver.
-- Forty-three percent make more than half of their calls from their mobile phone.
-- Fifty-seven percent have used their mobile phone in an emergency.
-- More than half—52 percent—use their mobile phone for pleasure; three percent use it strictly for business; 45 percent use their mobile phone for both.
The Sprint Survey on Mobile Value is based on an online survey among a nationwide sample of U.S. adults.
Of the 473 participants, 29 percent were from the Midwest, 27 percent from the South, 23 percent from the Northeast and 21 percent from the West.
Of the respondents, 56 percent were female and 44 percent were male. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 4.51 percent.
Sprint Nextel operates two wireless networks serving nearly 51 million customers at the end of the third quarter 2008, making it the number-four carrier in the U.S.

"The survey shows the value of the dollar is more important than ever right now for families and they want the most for what they pay for," Mr. Radelet said. "That’s why Sprint’s new series of ads position Sprint as the industry leader in value, network superiority, customer service and wireless user experience."