According to a recent study commissioned by Best Buy Mobile, the mobile specialty retail unit of Best Buy, more than half of American mobile phone owners don’t know the month and year when their current mobile phone contract expires.

In addition, only four in 10 say they received a reminder notice that their contract was about to expire, leaving many consumers in the dark about upgrade eligibility and the plan options available. To help consumers better understand their contract situation, Best Buy Mobile recently launched a consumer education campaign — the Upgrade Checker campaign, at — that provides resources to help customers make informed shopping decisions.

The survey, conducted for Best Buy Mobile by GfK Roper, sheds light on consumers’ knowledge and shopping habits around mobile plans, devices, technology and accessories.

“When it comes to mobile solutions available today, many consumers are not armed with the right information to truly get the most out of their mobile phone,” says Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. “We know that there are customers out there using mobile phones that are four and five years old when they could be using a smart phone. At Best Buy Mobile, we look out for our customers and help them navigate the wide array of choices to help them make an informed decision that fits their lifestyle.”

While nearly one in four shoppers (23%) made their mobile phone decision based on the mobile phone device itself, the majority of respondents (67%) selected carriers as their main purchasing influence. One in 10 selected a mobile phone based on the operating platform, such as Apple’s iPhone platform. Survey respondents also noted that they expect multimedia capabilities as a primary function on a mobile device, though content interests differ:

° 45% look for multimedia capabilities including music, video and camera;

° 32% look for GPS navigation;

° 29% want to replace a landline phone;

° 26% want to be able to access social networking sites;

° 26% want to be Wi-Fi enabled;

° 15% want to make eCommerce purchases from their mobile devices;

° 15% want to be able to download a movie;

° 14% want to be able to play games from their smart phone.