Data, text usage surpasses voice in the U.S.

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Level with us — for all the complaining you do about your carrier not offering an affordable unlimited talk plan, how many minutes do you actually spend yapping on your cell phone per month? If you’re anything like the average person, you’re not doing it all that much. In fact, your use of data and texts far outweighs the voice minutes you log on a monthly basis, and what calls you do make are shorter.  Since 2008, the CTIA has said voice calls are quickly going the way of the Dodo, with the average call length dropping over 20% from 2008 to 2009 alone. This comes at a time where the use of text messages alone increased 50% year-over-year, with half of America’s teens said to be sending more than 1,500 texts per month. So why is it that people are talking less? For starters, there’s convenience. Shooting someone a text, IM or email is far faster and less obtrusive than a phone call, allowing the recipients to carry on with their daily activities and respond at their leisure. Then there’s social customs. As rude as some might think it is to fire off a text in the company of others, we cannot imagine anyone who would prefer to sit in awkward silence as their friend carries out a 2 minute conversation about what’s happened on last night’s episode of The Hills. Not only that, but according to NPD analyst Ross Rubin, “handset design has become far less cheek-friendly” in recent years with most feature and smartphones requiring users to go through a multi-step process before initiating a simple phone call. So what does the future hold for the wireless industry? In lieu of the traditional charge for voice minutes, industry analysts are predicting that carriers will instead charge for the amount of data used…and we’re not sure that is going to be better.

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