AT&T survey of demand for wireless communications

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- January 16, 1991 -- In an effort to better understand the market for personalized communications, AT&T's Cellular Systems Business Unit today announced that it had recently completed a nationwide market research study to assess potential demand for personal communications services in the residential and business sector.

Personal communications services, in general, are those that would allow people to use a very small, wireless telephone virtually anywhere they go.

Demand estimates derived from the study indicate that more than 50 percent of all U.S. households would be interested in some type of personal communications service; the high level of demand was based on the assumption that these services were already widely available for a ten-year time period.

"We knew there was a lot of interest here; people seem to like the idea of a pocket-sized phone they can carry with them," says AT&T Market Manager, Susan Gajewski.

Over 1,000 prequalified residence and business users took part in a series of in-depth interviews -- conducted in focus groups, over the phone and through the mail -- to determine overall level of interest as well as what types of product offerings would be most attractive.

In the near-term, survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred the more basic, low-cost personal services. These are services that would essentially allow the subscriber to place calls within a limited area or only near certain preselected sites; in many instances, users would receive calls via pager.

Over time, as the price for all personal communications services falls, the study revealed that demand for more feature-rich services, offering the user access from virtually anywhere, would rise dramatically. At the same time, demand for the less expensive services would continue at a strong level.

The study reinforced the fact that low cost is definitely a priority when it comes to personal communications service. However, as overall prices decline, many consumers indicated a willingness to pay a little more for additional features and greater mobility. "We found that, at least today, there is no one solution to satisfy the growing demand for personal communications service," Gajewski says. "These are novel services, and people in the resident and business markets seem to be interested in a wide variety of product offerings."

AT&T will continue to develop studies designed to provide a better understanding of the evolving personal communications market and the technologies needed to serve that market.

"We know that demand for these services is there, but we're going to have to work together with service providers to drive the business and support the types of services end users are demanding," says Linda Murphy, Product Management Director for AT&T's Cellular Systems Business Unit.