American Mobile Data Usage Surges

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Telephia reports that mobile data usage in the USA, such as text and multimedia messaging, mobile Web, and downloads, has reached the 50% adoption mark in Q4 2005, rising seven percentage points since the beginning of the year. The latest data from Telephia’s Customer Value Metrics report shows that SMS activity leads the way for all mobile data usage, with 41% of wireless subscribers using text messaging on their cell phones at the end of 2005.

Twenty-two percent of all cell phone users paid for accessing the Web via their wireless device during the last quarter of 2005, while MMS activity posted a penetration rate of 13%, rising five percentage points since Q1 2005. In addition, 11% of wireless consumers downloaded content from their cell phones, gaining three percentage points since the beginning of the year.


“The overall growth in cell phone data usage is a boon for carriers,” said Tamara Gaffney, Product Director, Telephia. “The popularity of mobile activities such as text-messaging is a solid revenue driver, with bundled pricing for data packages averaging $20 a month or 10 cents per message on pay-as-you go plans, in addition to the costs consumers already pay for their voice minutes.”

Consumers who accessed the Web via their cell phones were twice as likely to subscribe to monthly data packages than pay-per-transaction, with Web/WAP package charges posting a 14% penetration rate, while individual transactional charges showed an eight percent rate in Q4 2005. MMS users were nearly three times as likely to subscribe to data packages as pay-per-transaction. In contrast, the penetration rate for subscribers to monthly SMS data packages was just about equal to the penetration rate of wireless consumers who paid for SMS per transaction, hovering around the 20-21 percent rate at the end of the year.

“Consumers don’t want to be surprised by additional costs to their cell phone bills and the perception is that Web/WAP and MMS are too expensive without using monthly data packages,” added Gaffney.