A new survey reveals almost 80% of millennials would rather lose the ability to make phone calls if it meant getting unlimited data

George Marks / Retrofile / Getty Images

  • Millennials know what they want out of their phone, and it has nothing to do with making traditional calls.
  • Most of the 1,180 millennials and Generation Z respondents surveyed said they would rather have unlimited data and give up calling than the other way around.
  • There are alternative communication methods users would have to pay to use if they chose the latter, and most people – particularly younger generations – hardly make the calls to justify needing unlimited minutes.

Phone calls could be a thing of the past, if millennials had their way.

While calling isn’t a lost communication method for everyone, younger generations see it as a dispensable feature while viewing data as nonnegotiable. A smartphone without a phone still has countless purposes, after all, while a smartphone without data is just a phone.

And given the option between no calling and no data, 78% of millennials (ages 18 to 34) said they would prefer to sign up for a phone plan with no calling and unlimited data over a plan with no data and unlimited calling, according to a survey conducted by the app-based phone service Visible.

The trend is a product of stronger networks and their ability to seamlessly support other methods of communication like messaging and video calls without a hitch, negating the need for a calling feature altogether. Another large factor at play is social media, which not only requires data but is now accessed almost entirely via mobile – some of the newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat aren’t even built out completely for desktop.

But it isn’t always about keeping in touch: About a third of respondents said they downloaded new apps about once a month and 12% said they downloaded new apps weekly. Most respondents were also aware that Netflix and Spotify were partially to blame for their data use; that’s probably why 74% said they would opt for a flat-rate plan rather than pay for what they actually use.

Most of the millennials and Generation Z (ages 18 to 22) participants surveyed claimed to be fairly knowledgeable about their mobile phone plan, and it looks as if they know what they’re looking for in the fine print: data, data, and more data.

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