Twenty Percent of U.S. Households View Landline Telephones as an Important Communication Choice
Nov 17, 2016
This report analyzes data from a survey of U.S. consumer preferences related to fixed telephone (landline), mobile telephone, fixed Internet, and mobile Internet services. It provides population-level estimates of participation in free and reduced-price telephone programs provided by the government, the bundles of services found in U.S. households, and the relative importance of each service in the lives of the respondents.
Evidence from the RAND American Life Panel
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Because telecommunications services use large network infrastructures that create barriers to entry and are associated with public goods, including safety, these services have typically been regulated at the state and federal levels. However, as new technologies emerge and the population responds, adopts, and adjusts, historical regulatory strategies may no longer be appropriate. Efficient policy requires an understanding of the preferences of consumers for the services provided by telecommunications firms and the benefits and costs created by any change in regulatory policy.
This report uses data collected from a representative survey of the revealed and stated preferences related to fixed telephone (landline), mobile telephone, fixed Internet, and mobile Internet services. It provides population-level estimates of participation in free and reduced-price telephone programs provided by the government, the bundles of services found in U.S. households, and the relative importance of each service in the lives of the respondents. Results show that about 90 percent of households have at least one mobile phone, 75 percent have fixed Internet service, 58 percent have mobile Internet service, and 49 percent have fixed telephone service. Mobile telephone service is most important to the average respondent, followed by fixed Internet service, mobile Internet service, and fixed telephone service, although a portion rank fixed telephone first. Using a method known as best-worst analysis, the authors estimate that mobile telephone service is approximately 3.5 times more important than fixed telephone service for the average consumer. Continued investigation of population preferences for various telecommunications services is warranted to estimate the effects of any potential policy changes.
Data and Summary Statistics
Revealed Preferences for Telecommunications Services
Stated Preferences for Telecommunications Services
Unrestricted Regression Results
Best-Worst Scaling and Related Statistical Models
This research was sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and conducted in the RAND Science, Technology and Policy Program, a part of RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.
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