With news of BT’s re-entry into the consumer mobile phone market, it seems fitting to recall its most famous slogan: “It’s good to talk.” That phraseology entered the English vernacular some 20 years ago, and its sentiment remains as true as ever. However, the UK mobile phone market that BT is returning to following a more than 10-year hiatus is a somewhat different place—and one where users appear to do very little talking.
In December 2014 polling from multichannel solutions provider Oxygen8 Group, voice didn’t even make the top 10 list of mobile services used by mobile phone users. Communication needs are more likely being met by other data-led services. For example, according to the survey, the most popular service was messaging, cited by 90.0% of respondents. Email and social media, with respective response rates of 83.0% and 77.6%, also fared well.
Another huge difference between the mobile market of 10 years ago and the one today is its sheer size. eMarketer estimates that there will be 52.0 million mobile phone users in the UK in 2015, representing almost 80% of the entire population. That’s a lot of people for who talk appears to be cheap.
The consumer mobile market is clearly an attractive proposition for BT. It’s just an entirely different proposition than the one it left behind.