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5/14/2010
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Cell Phones Gaining Fast On Landline Phones

Almost a quarter of American households have already cut the cord and use cell phones only and another 15% rarely use the landlines they do have.

The day when cell phones outnumber landline phones in the U.S. is likely to occur sooner rather than later based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics. In some ways cell phones have already taken over from landlines – nearly 25% of U.S. households have only cell phones while another 15% with landlines received most of their calls on cell phones.

Major telephone providers including AT&T, Qwest Communications and Verizon Communications report a steady decline in landlines even as their wireless subscribers increase. Verizon has been spinning off several of its mostly-landline operations in Hawaii, northern New England and in a several state package it is seeking to offload to Frontier Communications.

According to the CDC report, most households still share landline and cell phones -- about 60%. The CDC report has medical and health delivery overtones as it seeks to understand how to reach medically underserved Americans and learn more about how they can obtain proper medical care.

The survey found that poorer citizens tend to have a higher rate of cell phone only usage (36%) than those with higher incomes (20%). As expected, the CDC found that younger Americans have been using cell phones at higher rates than older Americans. More than a third of younger adults under 35 possess only cell phones while just one in 20 older adults over 65 have only a cell phone.

The survey turned up some interesting anecdotal evidence: binge drinking of alcoholic drinks was nearly twice as high among among wireless-only adults as it was in landline households. Users with only wireless phones also were more likely to be smokers than Americans living in landline households. Even so, wireless-only users were more likely to report excellent or very good health than landline-only users.

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