BBM Canada says almost half of all Canadians have a mobile phone, but only a small minority are using them for businesses purposes only.

The Toronto-based radio and television ratings information company released research this

week which says 47 per cent of Canadians have a mobile, but the majority, 64 per cent, use it for personal use only. About 27 per cent use mobile phones for business and pleasure. Nine per cent use them only for business.

“”The nine per cent doesn’t surprise me. If anything it’s high,”” said Craig Dorning, BBM Canada marketing manager, and IT department employees are prime candidates to find themselves in this minority. “”They only use the phone when they’re at the office so someone can find them in the building.””

Dorning says the results were collected this year from more than 50,000 respondents, but one cell phone vendor needs convincing. David Woodcock, director of product management for Motorola Canada PCS, says he was very surprised by some of the statistics, especially the penetration rate.

“”The data that we look at suggests that only about 38 per cent of Canadians will have wireless devices by the end of this year,”” Woodcock says. “”And that’s compiled by the carriers themselves.””

Telus Mobility spokesperson Mark Langton says according to his figures the penetration rate is closer to 35 per cent, but he wouldn’t be surprised if 47 per cent of households had a mobile phone.

Despite holding such a thin segment of the market, Woodcock says business users are still critical.

“”Everybody tends to pay attention to them because they will pay more money for a phone and they pay more on a monthly basis. So even though they may not be very numerous they’re an important customer set to pay attention to and are probably early adopters in terms of what technologies are going to really be winners in the wireless space,”” Woodcock says.

 

Dorning predicts the line between personal and business phone will blur, if not vanish, within 10 years. He argues wireless phones will replace their tethered ancestors and leave us with one phone. “”It’ll be your phone: it won’t be for business or personal.””

While Woodcock isn’t sold on this image of the future, he says there are some technologies on the horizon that would enable Dorning’s vision. He says in about five years, mobile phones will have a personality of sorts, behaving differently depending on its location. What is more likely, however, is a one-number, many-device setup.

“”Using a GSM phone, your phone number is embedded on a chip. So you might carry one device during the day — it’s a little bit bigger, it has a big colour screen and has a lot of functionality — but at night or on the weekend you don’t want to carry that thing around. So you take your chip and put it in a small convenient phone,”” Woodcock says

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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