A long forgotten community of mobile users with little interest in touch screens, apps and 4G networks are quietly paying around $1.7 billion per year to telcos more focused on wooing high spending smartphone users.
This was a core finding of Roy Morgan Research's latest telecommunications study. The data also found that more than 4.3 million over 14 years of age still have a main personal mobile phone with no computer-like functionality to download apps.
This group still represents more than 25 per cent of mobile phone consumers and 17 per cent of the national expenditure on consumer-pays mobile phone services, Roy Morgan Research said.
Just over half of these non-smart mobile owners have a pre-paid service and they spend on average of around $26 per month, or just $8 less than the average pre-paid smartphone user.
The average post-paid non-smart mobile owner spend $41 per month and while smartphone users spend $20 or more, this often includes repayment of their smart and expensive handset, the research firm said.
Overall, non-smart mobile owners in the six months to December last year spent $686 million on pre-paid services and $1036 on post-paid -- making around 15 calls per week and sending 14 text messages.
The majority (67 per cent) of non-smart phone owners said they had no intention to upgrade their handset, and a similar number had owned their phone for four years or less and either chose or were given a non-smart phone.
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One in nine had used their current handset for 10 years or more.
Tim Martin, general manager -- media at Roy Morgan said in a statement: "As providers create offerings and deals that appeal only to consumers hankering for the iPhone 6, HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6 on a 4G network with big data allowance, there's $1.7 billion up for grabs in 2015 from Australians who just want to use their current phone as a phone."
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