A Cell Phone Is No Longer A Phone… So What Is it?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Arch Telecom

It’s a data delivery device.  It’s Facebook, iTunes, a GPS locator, email, TV, gaming, voice memos, reminder lists and apps like Restaurant Roulette. 

In May of 2010, the CTIA (the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry) published a report stating that, for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in SMS/text, email, video, music and other services that smart phones are designed to do, surpassed the amount of voice calls.

The original purpose of the cell phone, talking, is decreasing, while SMS/text messages have increased by nearly 50%.  Smart phone design is trending towards data functionality, such as full “qwerty” keyboards with large screens, while becoming less “cheeky” or talk-friendly.  More and more households are disconnecting landlines.

With respect to cell phone “voice” use, real estate agents have always led the pack.  After all, for many agents the cell is their “office.”  We are not suggesting that an agent should replace calling back prospects with an app… but the research is clear that the consumer prefers to make the initial contact via some sort of mobile application.  So what does this mean for your business?

It means:

  1. You better have a mobile application that consumers can use to access your property information.
  2. The application should have the ability for lead capture.
  3. You need to be notified when it is accessed.
  4. You are best served making a good old-fashioned voice call to follow up.

Our company, Arch, pioneered call capture in the early 1990s.  In the mid 2000s we introduced mobile features to complement the call capture.  Now, for the first time, we are seeing a clear trend of consumers accessing the mobile features in favor of voice applications.

Specifically, buyers are requesting real estate information via text message.  From an agent standpoint, there are several benefits to providing consumers with a mobile app.  The consumer’s contact information is captured, i.e. cell phone number, name and property they called in on, and you are notified with this information immediately.  Since the prospect’s request establishes a “business relationship,” regardless of their Do Not Call status, you have permission to follow up.

Your brand becomes “sticky” because we send your personalized electronic business card to their mobile device.  In a different response, we’ll send pictures (unlimited) and/or a single property website.  These types of features further incentivize buyers to use the mobile application.

The trend is clear.  Data applications are becoming a more popular vehicle than voice for consumers.  Manufacturers will continue to invent devices more suitable for this type of delivery (the IPAD), and as a real estate agent you must have a mobile marketing presence. 

Comments (11)

Mike Baltierra
Rise Realty - Eastvale, CA
Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA

Never thought about it before, but you are so on about our cell phones being a Realtors office. I think about my cell as I think about a piece of clothing. I have to have it. I wouldn't walk out without my pants, the same with my phone. Thanks for info.

May 21, 2010 03:46 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


True.  Love how you captured the esssence of this.

May 21, 2010 03:51 AM
Bill Buettner
Keller Williams Greater Columbus - New Albany, OH
Your Real Estate Connection

Very true. I have had a cell phone for at least 20 years. [and I still have my very first one] There's been a few changes since then.

May 21, 2010 04:10 AM
Arch Telecom
Arch Telecom - Austin, TX

Hi Mike. It is amazing how the cellular phone has become our most essential accesory. It's also great the way the mobile phone has been able to help tranform us into mobile people.


Thanks Ron and Alexandra.


Bill, I'm surprised you still hold on to your first cell phone. I'm sure that it takes up a car space in your garage at this point!

May 21, 2010 04:55 AM
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Smart phones are so amazing.  Just like having a miniature computer in the palm of your hand. Very cool.

May 21, 2010 05:08 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Thanks for the great info!  

May 21, 2010 08:20 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Thanks for all the information. I have a question I hope you can answer. What phone for the Verizon network do you recommend? I love the iPhones I have seen, but the AT&T service is very poor in our small coastal community.

May 21, 2010 04:09 PM
Arch Telecom
Arch Telecom - Austin, TX

Hi Tom. I love the new HTC Droid Incredible. If you are looking for something similar to the Iphone, I would start with it. 

May 22, 2010 11:01 AM

I was about to ask the same thing.  I have a Blackberry Curve - my 5th Blackberry in 2 years because they keep going bad. I know others love them so it must be my service provider Sprint.  I'm looking to make a move ...but to what phone? Carrier?   suggestions are most welcome since there are so many new phones with amazing things coming out!


May 24, 2010 01:46 PM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Sprint is really bad in the Pacific NW.  Only T-Mobile and Verizon are worth using, and they have problems.  Smart phones are necessay these days, but unfortunately, they are very problem prone.

May 24, 2010 05:02 PM
Wade Kawahara
Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC - Phoenix, AZ

It's really essential to keep up with the new technology.  I have found a good way to learn how to do different things is to go to youtube and find a video that walks you through the process.

May 26, 2010 04:38 AM