CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

Summary: A new CTIA study has found that most mobile phone owners are using their devices primarily for texting and browsing the Internet these days.

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While the original purpose of a cell phone is to make phone calls, a new study shows that most mobile phone owners are using their devices primarily for texting and browsing the Internet these days.

As reported by the New York Times, the CTIA wireless industry association has found that the average number of voice minutes used per consumer in the U.S. has dropped, while the number of text messages sent per user in 2009 grew almost 50%. The report continues on that data usage (e-mail, Internet browsing, streaming video, etc.) has also surpassed the amount of phone calls on a mobile phone made last year.

Some of other quick stats include 90% of U.S. households have a cell phone, and the average length of a call was 1.81 minutes last year, down from 2.27 minutes in 2008.

Predictably, teenagers seem to text the most, with over half of the demographic sending a staggering 1,500 text messages per month.

Personally, I do prefer to text than call these days just for speed and ease of use, and I'm constantly checking my e-mail on my phone. But I probably hover around 100 text messages per month. I can't even imagine what warrants 1,500 texts per month for one user.

What do you use your cell phone for the most?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Telcos

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16 comments
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  • I think texting is great ...

    For cellular carriers' bottom lines. Imagine, instead of charging by the megabyte, then can charge the same for text messages containing only a few bytes. How cool is that?
    terry flores
    • I think you don't know what you're talking about

      @terry flores

      Like while driving and not paying attention?

      Or bringing your phone to a movies theater and having to endure the clicks and the phone glows in the dark?

      Or kids taking them to school and texting with the phone under the desks while the teacher talks?

      Yeah sure that's cool man, f'king awesome. :(
      ubiquitous one
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    "I do prefer to text than call these days just for speed and ease of use..."

    As a non-texter, I'm going to show my ignorance. How could typing in a string of characters, having to check what you've keyed, reading any replies, etc., be easier than keying in seven numbers (assuming the other party isn't in your address book) and just talking to him or her?
    CharlieSpencer
    • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

      @Palmetto think of this:

      My wife drives to the grocery store, and five minutes after she walks out the door, I realize I forgot to ask her for something. Instead of the usual "hey, honey, are you there yet? nice, listen, make sure you remember to get the yogurt..." call, which takes 5 minutes, I can text her "I forgot to ask you for yogurt, please pick up some while at the supermarket."

      With a well-designed phone, reading these messages and replying takes very little effort, and it means not eating up your voice minutes. It doesn't replace voice calls, but it means a quick and convenient way to cut down on wasteful calls.
      pedro.vera@...
    • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

      @Palmetto

      I'm not a big texter either, I think it's more convenient to make a call. I do communicate though with some people, one being my daughter, that might not answer when the phone rings but will response quickly to a text.

      Why this is so I don't know but that's the way some people are.
      jvoyles@...
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    @Palmetto
    Sometimes texting is easier to communicate with someone if you can't talk on the phone or the other person can't talk on the phone either. I used to think texting was a harder and not as easy to do as just simply calling someone, but once I started to text people and use it more frequently I really have grown to like it more than a phone call. A good example of why using a text is better than a phone call is say you need to pick something up from a grocery store and you don't have anything to write on, you get a text from someone to say what you need to pick up and you have it on your phone now.
    tbensen@...
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    I think texting should only be used in rare situations. I have a friend who texts me instead of just calling & it drives me crazy! It is so much quicker to just speak to someone rather than have to type it out. Instead we end up texting back & forth for 5-10 mins for something that would take probably a minute or less via voice.
    step69
    • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

      I have a co-worker who does that. When a message comes through from her to my desk, I pick up the phone and call her back. Even as a touch typist, I can dial her four-number extension a lot quicker than I can type my reply.
      CharlieSpencer
    • Deleted

      Oops. Double post. Sorry. I debase myself.
      CharlieSpencer
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    Use mine to call and that seldom. Never text as I consider it a waste of time. As far as a web experience I'm not going there as it's horrible IMHO. And no email is worth reading "right now" so why would I enslave myself to carrying it around with me?
    Tholian_53
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    Being deaf in one ear, hard of hearing in the other, texting makes for much more accurate and SHORTER exchange of info, especially with those not on my family talk plan. If I'm driving, I likely can't hear the phone ring and/or feel the vibration, so it's easier for hubby to text/email me the grocery list or other errand request. Still need to get the hard-to-understand hearing people who talk too fast/soft/accented to respect our needs and just text us. It saves their voice minutes too, not having to repeat difficult word/syllable combinations over and over to me.
    MsDrPepper
    • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

      MsDrPepper, you're a case where texting has expanded telecommunications functionality to people who were never adequately served by voice-only communications. Respectfully, may I assume you'd rather have 'normal' hearing?

      If you can't hear the phone ring or feel the vibration, how do you know when you receive a message? Do you just check frequently?
      CharlieSpencer
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    (as for the wonderment about teens texting 1500 times, realize some of those "messages" just consisted of one concept, like "LOL" - not a very efficient use of the full 140-160 character average of "message" length that they could have gotten for the same "per message cost"!! That's what is so silly to me. I'll write a long text, get as MUCH info in it as I can, not just silly "oh he's so cute, blah blah blah, ROFL", although I have done that to some extent, if I'm chatting with another deaf person via text message (since we won't either one be using voice calls.). Back in the early days of data plans, I resented having to pay for voice calls that I couldn't use, when all I wanted/needed was a data plan!! These days, several carriers have text/data plans without a voice plan.
    MsDrPepper
  • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

    I no longer call my phone a "phone". This is a pocket computer that also happens to let you make calls.<br><br>I use my phone mostly for data, and I'd say the ratio is 95/5 (data/voice). I prefer text messages to calls. The also leave a permanent record. It's easier to have a list of what to pick up at the store in text form then have to remember it, etc.

    If driving, I'll ignore any text/data obviously, or pull over to read it if I think it might be important. Voice calls go to the speakerphone.
    WindowWasher
    • RE: CTIA: Cell phones used more for data, texting rather than calls

      @WindowWasher, hey you misspelled "windoze"

      idiot...
      ubiquitous one
  • &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.phonecards4usa.com&quot;&gt;phonecards&lt;/a&gt;

    I prefer to text than call just for speed and ease of use, and I?m constantly checking my e-mail on my phone. But I probably hover around 200 text messages per month.
    pc4usapw