Technology.am (May 7, 2009) — The number of U.S. households opting for only cell phones has for the first time surpassed those that just have traditional landlines, due to the impact of the recession.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Wednesday, twenty percent of households had only cells during the last half of 2008 that was an increase of nearly 3 percentage points over the first half of the year.
The 20 percent of homes with only cell phones compared to 17 percent with landlines but no cells. That ratio has changed starkly in recent years: In the first six months of 2003, just 3 percent of households were wireless only, while 43 percent stuck to landlines.
Stephen Blumberg, senior scientist at the CDC and an author of the report, attributed the growing number of cell-only households in part to a recession that has forced many families to scour their budgets for savings.
People who live in homes that have only wireless service tend to be disproportionately low-income, young, renters and Hispanics.
“We do expect that with the recession, we’d see an increase in the prevalence of wireless only households, above what we might have expected had there been no recession,” Blumberg said.
Six in 10 households have both landlines and cell phones. Even so, industry analysts emphasized the public’s growing love affair with the versatility of cell phones, which can perform functions like receiving text messages and also are mobile.
“The end game is consumers are paying two bills for the same service,” said John Fletcher, an analyst for the market research firm SNL Kagan, referring to cell and landline phones. “Which are they going to choose? They’ll choose the one they can take with them in their car.”
The data is compiled by the National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the CDC. The latest survey involved in-person interviews with members of 12,597 households conducted from last July through December.