AT&T Poll Says Use of Tablets, 4G Devices, GPS Navigation Mobile Apps on the Rise Among Small Businesses

Small Businesses in Dallas and Washington D.C. Rank Highest in 'WiQ' Among Markets Surveyed

Dallas, Texas, February 15, 2012

When it comes to technology, small businesses continue to ratchet up their use of emerging wireless solutions, including tablet computers, 4G devices, and GPS navigation mobile apps. This according to the just-released 2012 AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll**. More specifically, the national survey of small businesses revealed the following:

General Wireless Technologies:

  • Nearly all small businesses (96%) surveyed use wireless technologies in their operations, with almost two-thirds (63%) indicating that they could not survive — or it would be a major challenge to survive — without wireless technologies.
  • More than four in 10 (43%) small businesses surveyed report all of their employees use wireless devices or technologies to work away from the office, a nearly 80% jump from three years ago.
  • Despite being a relatively new technology, two-thirds (67%) of small businesses surveyed indicate that they use tablet computers, up from 57% a year ago.
  • By end of 2012, some 50% of small businesses surveyed expect to have all their employees using wireless technologies to work away from the office.


  • 85% of small businesses reported using smartphones for their operations, up from 80% last year and more than double the usage five years ago (42%).
  • 4G Devices***:
    One third of smartphones used by small businesses for business purposes are 4G.
    • Nearly nine in 10 (86%) of the businesses using 4G smartphones are satisfied with the speed.
    • Of those who don’t have 4G devices, more than one-third (35%) report that they expect to purchase 4G smartphones within the next year, and more than half (54%) within the next two years.
    • 50% of small businesses indicated that touchscreen is the predominant type of keypad in their operations, followed by traditional QWERTY keypads at 21%.
      21% indicated that their businesses use both types of smartphone keypads.

Mobile Applications:

  • Almost one-third (30%) of small businesses surveyed use mobile apps for their business, with key reasons being to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs.
  • Mobile apps are gaining in importance for small businesses that use them, with half (50%) saying they could not survive – or it would be a major challenge to survive – without mobile apps, a 31% jump over the past year.
  • Of small businesses using mobile apps, GPS navigation and mapping are by far the most popular with 80% of business owners using them, followed by location-based services (44%) and social media marketing (42%).

Regional Variations: Based on responses to questions regarding four factors – perceived importance of wireless, use of wireless technology, use of mobile apps, and percentage of employees using wireless to work remotely – a Wireless Quotient, or “WiQ,” was calculated for each of the 12 markets surveyed. Rankings from highest to lowest follow:

  1. Dallas
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Atlanta
  4. Indianapolis
  5. San Francisco
  6. Miami
  7. San Diego
  8. Chicago
  9. Boston
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Kansas City
  12. Cleveland


“More than ever, we’re seeing small businesses leverage the benefits afforded by wireless technologies, whether they be smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, or 4G speeds,” said Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of Small Business Product Management. “There’s no doubt that with ‘virtual offices’ and remote workforces becoming more and more prevalent, AT&T will remain committed to offering innovative and affordable mobility solutions, helping small businesses reduce costs and increase productivity over both the short- and long-term.”

For more information and additional results from the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, including market variations, please visit the poll’s media kit. Also, here’s a video, highlighting poll results.

General Information

Small businesses that want more information about all AT&T products and services can visit AT&T Small Business. For free business resources such as webinars, articles, case studies and best practices, they can visit AT&T Small Business InSite.

Additionally, real-time information and updates can be found on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page and AT&T Small Business Twitter channel.