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Surprise! Smartphone Owners Love This Feature Most

Turns out, smartphone users prize a surprisingly conventional function above browsing the mobile Web or using apps. When asked what one use of a phone they could not live without, respondents most frequently said making or receiving phone calls.

If you're rolling your eyes at the obviousness of the answer (what else would you use a phone for, right?), you'd be less cynical once you realize that most wireless carriers today tout the speed, reliability and coverage of their data networks as the most important thing for consumers.

"The study revealed that despite a recent focus by some media and operators on metrics such as maximum achievable data throughput, consumers care more about their mobile network getting the basics right, like calls always connecting and good data reliability," said  Global Wireless Solutions (GWS). The independent network testing company conducted the survey to find out what services people say are most important to them.

MORE: Tom's Guide's Best and Worst Phone Carriers

GWS today launched its mobile network performance testing system OneScore, which is supposed to rank national carriers based on network testing results and important wireless services. To determine what those important services are, the company surveyed 5,000 American adults in October 2015.

Surprisingly, in today's data-driven era, making and receiving calls was the most important function of a mobile phone, with 41 percent of respondents saying it was the one function they could not live without. The second most essential use was sending/receiving text messages, followed by the ability to take photos and send or receive emails.

GWS intends to use these results to create what it says will be a "more meaningful measure of network performance." The survey also found that 35 percent of mobile users rely on their phone for Internet access, having limited alternative means to get online, and that 65 percent of users would like to use Wi-Fi calling technology.


Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Reviews Editor at Engadget and was previously a staff writer at Tom's Guide, covering wearables, cameras and smartphones. In her spare time she enjoys devouring old episodes of Torchwood or The X-Files. Or taking selfies.

  • rgd1101
    Yup. I'm one of those people. Phone calls, txt and occasion for driving direction, news and weather.