On the 50th Anniversary of the First Mobile Phone Call, New Study Finds People Would Rather Give Up The Gym, Sports, Netflix — Even Sex — Than Their Phone

ATLANTA and STOCKHOLM, Sweden APRIL 3, 2023 Fifty years after the first mobile phone call was made on April 3, 1973, a new mobile communications survey has been commissioned by Sinch (publ), the company powering meaningful conversations between businesses and their customers through its Customer Communications Cloud. The survey reveals how vital mobile phones are to our lives, finding nearly 72% of people couldn’t imagine going more than a weekend without their mobile phone, while nearly a quarter (23%) believe they could last an hour at most.

Though mobile phone technology has made incredible advances, the survey underscores that these devices will remain the go-to for communicating with friends, family, and businesses for the next 50 years and beyond. Marty Cooper’s first phone call from a 6th Avenue New York sidewalk unleashed a new era of mobility and choice for consumers, leaving them more willing to give up the gym (41%), TV (25% of millennials) or even sex (22% of Gen Z respondents) than their mobile phones.

Today’s mobile world looks very different than it did in 1973. People expect to be able to easily converse with each other and with businesses across all mobile and digital channels and see the next 50 years building on this omnichannel approach, with new options like social media and chat augmenting existing solutions such as text, email, and voice. They want personalized experiences from the brands they buy from and to communicate with them on the favorite channels they choose at every stage of their buying journey.

Therefore, when asked about potential new options in 2073 that could supplement text, chat, email, and voice; 38% predict most communications to happen in the metaverse or virtual worlds; 28% expect neural implants that connect to the Internet to share thoughts; 25% will use augmented reality, while 34% feel we’ll also still be using text messages.

“From the first mobile phone call 50 years ago, a communications revolution was born. This study underscores just how integral the mobile phone is to our everyday lives — with many prepared to give up their favorite things rather than their phones,” said Robert Gerstmann, chief evangelist and co-founder of Sinch. “Clearly, businesses that can invite their customers in for a true two-way conversation — whether by text, phone, social app, email, or chatbot — will be the winners today and in tomorrow’s mobile worlds. Yet companies often struggle to deliver personalized experiences at scale because channels, tools, and communications are siloed and not designed to work together with the customer at the center. We can see from a survey like this that consumer demand will drive businesses to change.”

Survey insights include:

  • Consumers prefer to communicate with businesses just as they do their friends, via seamless conversations across multiple channels. Text messages were ranked by respondents as their favorite way of conversing with a business, followed closely by voice calls and email. However, 36% say text messages from businesses are too impersonal, and 1 in 4 get frustrated when they can’t respond to a business text message.
  • Consumers really, really love their mobile devices. Asked what they’d rather give up than their mobile phone, 41% of respondents chose the gym while 25% of millennials selected TV or radio, and 22% percent of GenZ said they would give up sex.    
  • Most consumers couldn’t go more than a weekend without their mobile phone — and many could not deprive themselves for an even shorter time. Asked how long they thought they could last without their mobile phone:
    • 72% said they couldn't last more than a weekend without their mobile phone;
    • 56% said they couldn’t go more than 24 hours;
    • 42% said 4 hours or less;
    • And 8% said 15 minutes or less.

Sinch’s technology powers hundreds of billions of global conversations between customers and businesses: its Super Network enables 300 billion minutes of voice calls annually and delivers over 200 billion text messages and 400 billion emails each year.

The results are from an online survey conducted by ResearchScape from March 24 to 26, 2023. 1,076 respondents completed the survey.

Sinch has created a blog that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first mobile phone call which can be referenced here

About Sinch:
Sinch powers meaningful conversations between businesses and their customers through its Customer Communications Cloud. More than 150,000 businesses – including many of the world’s largest tech companies – rely on Sinch and its global super network, which is the most secure and reliable network for messaging, voice and email. Sinch has been profitable and fast-growing since it was founded in 2008. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with shares traded at NASDAQ Stockholm: XSTO:SINCH. Learn more at sinch.com.

For further information, please contact:

Marcel Kay
PR Director