Poll reveals top 4 mobility headaches

Mobile devices, while widely popular, come with challenges. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has identified four of the most common ones.

Most cell-phone owners deal with bad reception and unwanted marketing calls. But these problems could become the everyday fare for federal employees on official business too as more agencies adopt mobile technologies and "bring your own device" policies.

“The mobile revolution is upon us,” U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel said early in 2012, while announcing a plan for agencies to make the best use of mobile technologies in their work. Agencies have moved to embrace mobile technologies. Some agencies are considering implementing BYOD policies -- others hesitate over a variety of security and management concerns -- and others such as the Homeland Security Department have already advanced to planning a mobile security reference architecture.

But with this mobile wave in progress, research released Aug. 2 offered a reminder of the challenges that may arise. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project examined the prevalence of the most commonly occurring problems cell owners face, including interrupted and unwanted calls.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans today have cell phones. Of those, 72 percent had experienced dropped calls at least occasionally. Nearly one-third of that group said this problem happens at least on a weekly basis or even more often than that.

Sixty-eight percent of cell owners said they receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls; with 25 percent saying this occurs at least a few times a week or more frequently. Unwanted solicitations also come in the form of text messages: 69 percent of those who text said they get spam, and 25 percent face this problem at least weekly.

Slow download speeds also add to cell owners’ problems. More than half said they use their device to go online, but the majority regularly experienced hiccups with downloading files.

These problems happen even more often among smart-phone owners. Thirty-five percent of smart-phone owners experienced dropped calls, and nearly 50 percent said slow download speeds happened regularly. Among users of more basic mobile phones, those numbers were 28 percent and 31 percent respectively.

The report was based on data from phone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from March 15 to April 3, 2012, among a sample of 2,254 adults, age 18 and older.

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