US mobile phone users text more than they talk

NEW YORK, Sept 22 Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:49pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. consumers now use their cell phones for text messaging more often than for talking, according to the latest research from Nielson Company.

While U.S. phone users have been much slower to embrace texting than consumers in Europe and Asia, things are changing as the average U.S. user each sent or received 357 texts a month versus 204 voice calls in the second quarter, ended June 30.

Nielson said it weighted the results, which were derived from the phone bills of 50,000 people, to be representative of the U.S. cell phone subscriber population and that it was the second consecutive quarter of more texts than mobile calls.

Unsurprisingly, most of these texts are being sent by teenagers, with 13 to 17 year-olds tapping out an average of 1,742 texts a month each, compared with 231 phone calls.

The number of texts handled per person appears to decline with age with 18 to 24 year olds sending text exchanges of 790 a month compared with 265 phone calls.

People 65 years or older send or receive 14 texts a month compared with 99 voice calls.

People from 55 years old to 64 years old handle 38 texts a month and 45 to 54 year-olds send 128 texts a month while they have 193 cell phone voice conversations.

Top U.S. service providers are AT&T Inc (T.N), Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L), Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) and T-Mobile USA, owned by Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE).

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