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Saturday, September 28 • 4:10pm - 4:45pm
Smartphones as a Substitute ? Why Some Smartphone Users Aren't Subscribing at Home

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For many Americans, mobile broadband represents a complement to their home broadband service. Others, though, rely on their smartphones as their sole means of Internet access, creating a new class of broadband users who not only go online via a different type of device, but have an entirely different online experience. It is vital to understand why so many Americans rely on smartphones instead of home broadband service. While previous research has addressed factors impacting individuals? decisions to subscribe to home broadband service, similar attention has not been paid to these ?mobile-only? subscribers who use smartphones instead of subscribing to home broadband service.

Using a rich dataset collected by Connected Nation through 9,607 Random Digit Dial (RDD) telephone surveys conducted across a heterogeneous selection of states in 2012, this study examines why some individuals choose to be mobile-only subscribers while others also subscribe to home broadband service. This study aims to shed light onto the reasons why mobile-only subscribers first chose to subscribe to broadband service on their smartphones, as well as reasons why these individuals choose not to subscribe to home broadband service. The goal of this research is to educate policymakers and broadband providers regarding factors that make mobile broadband more attractive than home broadband service for millions of Americans.

Using cross-tabulated survey results and a binary logistic regression model, the authors use data from these surveys to measure the impact of geographic and socioeconomic factors such as an individual?s race, ethnicity, income, age, education, gender, state and county of residence, and disability status on whether that individual will be a mobile-only subscriber. In addition, this study explores survey data regarding how mobile subscribers use their smartphones, how much they report paying per month for their mobile broadband service, how often they go online, and what convinced them to subscribe to mobile broadband service. Comparisons are then made between mobile-only subscribers and those who subscribe to both home and mobile broadband service.

This study concludes that there are measurable differences between mobile-only subscribers and those who subscribe to both home and mobile broadband service in terms of their demographic profiles, the online applications they use, as well as the reasons why they subscribe to mobile broadband service on their smartphones. These differences can be important for policymakers as they attempt to increase home broadband service for all Americans and determine whether mobile broadband service should be considered a substitute or a complement for home broadband service.

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Saturday September 28, 2013 4:10pm - 4:45pm
GMUSL Room 221

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