Put your phone down before you read any further, that is unless you are reading this on a mobile device! According to Pew Research, cellphone penetration among adults in the U.S. reached 92% in 2015 and is nearing saturation. The change that we are experiencing with cellphones now is the predominance of smartphones, which has increased from 35% in 2011 to 68% in 2015. Look for that number to continue to grow as the smartphone penetration is over 80% for those under 50 years old.

While noticing the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices is as simple as viewing your surroundings at a local sporting event or even lunch with co-workers, I’d like to take a look at related trends in the U.S. and how that impacts Internet, telecom and cable providers.

The majority of phones are manufactured by Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC, which means that the primary two operating systems are Android and iOS. While Android has a majority of the market, Apple has a large share of the market in the U.S. and some very loyal customers so providers definitely need to accommodate both operating systems.

Within mobile we saw tablets enter the market primarily as an entertainment tool and more recently enter the workplace and sometimes replace PCs. More recently we’ve seen the size of smartphone screens increase and functionality expand so that consumers are doing more and more on their phones. Additionally we have seen the average number of connected devices within the home reach 7.5 according to Parks Associates. I’m not sure about you, but the number of connected devices in my home seems to go up every holiday season! Right or wrong, consumers expect their Internet Provider to make sure all of their devices are interconnected and working correctly. Speaking of which, why isn’t my wireless printer connecting to my home Wi-Fi???

So what are consumers doing on their mobile devices? They are obviously text messaging, making phone calls, using email, surfing the Internet, playing games, having Snapchats and accessing social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. An increasingly popular trend is watching videos (i.e. Netflix) or creating them (i.e. YouTube) on their mobile devices. Essentially we have become bandwidth hogs as we watch multi-task with our phones while watching TV! Given this increased need for bandwidth and higher speeds, are you rolling out and marketing higher speed Internet packages? Are you considering capping your Internet plans and charging for overages like the mobile carriers and some of the tier one cable providers?

What can Internet Providers do to make sure they have highly satisfied customers and maximize the revenue opportunities associated with the explosive mobile data growth? Obviously making sure that you have high-speed Internet packages available that can meet the needs for more bandwidth and faster speeds makes sense. With the influx of connected devices in the home it is important to provide your customers with a consistent, world-class support and service experience. Additionally, you can become their “go-to” resource that not only protects customers while on their computers but can also provide anti-theft, anti-virus, online backup and password management capabilities while on their iOS and Android devices. Help your customers and yourself by “going mobile” in 2016! Need help getting started; don’t hesitate to call, text, chat, post or email us!

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