Although the number of cellphone subscribers and smartphone users in the U.S. in 2010 far exceeded the number in 2009, the cost of customers' yearly wireless bills fell, according to a semiannual survey conducted by CTIA-the Wireless Association.
Wireless providers reported 302.9 million subscriber connections for year-end 2010, compared with 285 million in 2009, the association said.
The number of active smartphones grew to 78.2 million in 2010 from 49.8 million in 2009. That represents 57 percent yearly growth, the survey says.
Yet the average cellphone bill fell about a dollar last year when compared with year-end 2009.
Wireless customers paid $47.21 on average for monthly cellphone services at the end of 2010, compared with $48.16 the year before.
"It reflects the increasing value that U.S. consumers are getting for their money," said Amy Storey, a CTIA spokeswoman. "Our members are fiercely competitive for every single customer, which means customers win with offerings such as a bundle of text/voice/data plans."
In 2010, wireless users increasingly relied on text messaging and multimedia messaging services, such as photos and videos, and tapered the amount of time they spent engaged in conversation on their phones.
The number of texts sent and received spiked 31 percent in 2010, and the number of photos and videos sent and received increased 64 percent, the study suggests.
Minutes of use fell from 2.275 trillion in 2009 to 2.241 trillion in 2010.
Data for the survey were collected from several major cellphone providers the association represents, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp., and some that it does not.
Although the association sent out surveys to all cellphone providers in the U.S., they were not mandatory. The association received responses from companies serving 96 percent of all estimated wireless subscribers.
by Megan Neighbor The Arizona Republic Mar. 27, 2011 12:00 AM
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