Smartphone Users Prefer Data Security to Call Quality

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

How well do you trust your smartphone's security? A survey suggests consumers are worried about data protection.

For the first time in history, data security is more important to U.S. cell phone users than call quality, according to a report from AdaptiveMobile. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed cited keeping information secure as the most important carrier function, versus 52 percent for service quality and reliability. The survey also found that respondents are aware of mobile threats, with 52 percent of subscribers experiencing a mobile threat over the past year.

For example, one in three U.S. smartphone users reported receiving mobile spam, and one in seven indicated that they were exposed to SMS text phishing. Even with these high rates of exposure, only a small number of subscribers use security software (23 percent), and three-quarters of these use the software only because it is free. "The subscribers take it for granted that their personal and financial data is protected by the carrier, leaving the carrier as the first line of defense in a smartphone environment that is growing more open, complex, dynamic and crowded each day," the report warned.

The survey suggested smartphone subscribers are more concerned about the data and information stored on their phone (86 percent) or the possibility of identity theft (69 percent) than they are about the handset itself (45 percent). In addition, more than half of subscribers (52 percent) have experienced at least one security incident in the last 12 months, the most common being spam, received by more than one in three subscribers (37 percent).  One in seven (16 percent) has seen unexpected items on their mobile bill, and a similar number (15 percent) have been exposed to SMS text phishing.

One in three subscribers (34 percent) would open an SMS text message and 28 percent would open an email message from someone they don’t know on their mobile, the survey found. Furthermore, 40 percent would save log-in information such as passwords to their mobile, and more than three quarters (77 percent) download apps to their phone. Six percent of U.S. users report having been infected with a mobile virus in the last 12 months, well over the actual rates of under 1 percent.

"The US carrier market currently has more loyalty and trust from its customer base than almost any other industry, and this survey underscores the importance of maintaining this customer confidence, especially around mobile security," said Brian Collins, CEO of AdaptiveMobile. "Subscribers view the carrier as the safety net in this increasingly complex mobile environment, and U.S. carriers have a great opportunity to take steps to cement this trust. Those carriers that fail to see this as an opportunity to differentiate will risk losing customers, as the respondents made it clear, they will leave if their data is compromised."