Study: Mobile users blame operators for spam

Internet service providers may be used to dealing with customer frustration over spam, but mobile phone operators may have it worse. Cell phone users are more likely to blame their operators for unsolicited text messages, and even cancel contracts, according to a study released Wednesday.

"Many operators are seeing this as a critical situation," said Janos Hee, co-author of the study and business development manager for Intrado subsidiary Bmd Wireless, a network messaging product and services provider.

The worldwide survey of mobile phone users and mobile services professionals was conducted by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Bmd Wireless, with collaboration from the International Telecommunication Union. It found that eight out of 10 mobile users surveyed have received unsolicited messages and are more likely to change operators than change their cell phone number to deal with the problem.

Unlike Internet spam, mobile spam, in the form of text messages, directly affects the brand of the mobile operator, said Christopher Tiensch managing director of worldwide data services at Bmd. The study also found that mobile users don't differentiate between third-party messages or messages from their operator -- to them it's all spam.

This perception concerns operators who want to market their services, or those of their partners. Operators have not been doing as many text-message promotions over the past six to 12 months, according to Tiensch, as they try to define how to effectively use the technology without offending customers.

"Operators have to decide if their messages are annoying or add value," Tiensch said.

Mobile phone spam is considered more intrusive than Internet spam, Tiensch said. Operators, many of which are getting the brunt of anger over spam, are taking the problem seriously, he added.

Many operators have even gone so far as to cancel roaming agreements with carriers who appear to have a large amount of spam coming from their networks, the survey found. Some operators have cancelled five or six roaming agreements, while a few have cancelled over 30, Hee said. This has a direct impact on customers who find that they have no roaming voice or data access on these networks.

Mobile customers want operators to engage in more self-regulation to solve the problem, but so far most mobile network operators are in a trial-and-error phase, the survey found. Some are looking at technological means, like spam filters, while others are looking into adopting industry rules to eliminate the spam problem.

In the meantime, 83 percent of the telecom industry respondents surveyed see mobile spam as a critical issue today or within the next one to two years, according to the study.

The study was conducted in November and December and took into account surveys of 1,659 mobile users and 154 mobile services company professionals throughout Europe, Asia and North America. More details of the findings will be discussed at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes on Monday.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?