Although it may not be the most advanced option, voice calling was rated the most important communications option for teleworkers during COVID-19, according to a COVID-19 teleworkers communications report from Global Wireless Solutions. One third of smartphone users surveyed said voice calling was the work from home (WFH) smartphone communications option they would keep above all others. It was followed by texting (28%), video calling and conferencing (20%), emailing (15%) and team collaboration (4%).

At 45%, smartphones were the product that respondents would keep if they had to choose only one. Smartphones were followed by PCs (19%), streaming services (12%), TVs (10%), a car (7%) and a tablet (4%). Two percent – likely those with the best sense of humor — said that alcohol would be their choice.

COVID-19 Teleworkers Communications Report
The study assessed behavioral shifts that include the COVID-19 pandemic and more typical consumer concerns, including, according to the introduction, “consumer satisfaction with their wireless carriers and mobile devices, and variances based on demographics such as location (urban, suburban, and rural) and age group.”

The leading video calling and conferencing app is Zoom, which was identified first by 24% of respondents. It was followed by Facebook Messenger (21%) and Apple FaceTime (18%). Respondents in the 18- to 24-year old category prefer FaceTime, while those in the 35 years-old and up group lean toward Zoom.

Two graphics included with the COVID-19 teleworkers communications report broke down calling and conferencing apps by location (urban/suburban/rural) and before and after the onset of the pandemic. Zoom led in all location categories (with the biggest portion, 29%, in suburbia). Its use at least once per month increased from 20% pre-COVID-19 to 42% after the pandemic arrived.

There seems to be at least some stability in devices and carriers. Seventy-two percent of respondents have not purchased a new phone this year, half of whom have refrained because they are satisfied with what they own. The survey found that 38% likely will buy a new phone during the second half of this year, 26% next year and 11% in 2022 or later. Eighty-four percent said their carrier met their need always or most of the time and 80% or more of respondents think that their carrier is meeting network coverage, voice call quality/reliability and data throughput/reliability all or most of the time.

Seventy-six percent of both rural and suburban respondents would keep their current service provider because the provider offers the services and/or devices they want.

There is a scramble to support the WFH segment during the pandemic. A number of service providers, including AT&T, Cox, Comcast, and Consolidated Communications have launched services that provide traditional office connectivity to residences.

The GWS COVID-19 teleworkers communications report was based on a survey of 5,000 smartphone users  conducted by Toluna between June 16 and July 3.

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