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82% Of Phone Users Don't Send Text Messages At All

Looks like it is time to roll out the conflicting studies. Last week, we saw that three-quarters of phone shoppers list SMS capabilities as the number one must-have feature. This week, however, we learn that fully 82% of U.S. mobile phone users don't send text messages at all!!! Is just 18% of the population really accounting for all those billions and billions of messages each month?
Looks like it is time to roll out the conflicting studies. Last week, we saw that three-quarters of phone shoppers list SMS capabilities as the number one must-have feature. This week, however, we learn that fully 82% of U.S. mobile phone users don't send text messages at all!!! Is just 18% of the population really accounting for all those billions and billions of messages each month?You have to love statistics and polls. They can tell any story you want to tell. It's just a matter of presenting the numbers in the way that suits your purposes.

According to the New York Times, a recent poll performed by Ipsos says that, "82 percent of cellphone owners said that they never used text messaging, 3 percent said that they used it monthly or less, and 15 percent said that they used it every week or even more." In other words just 15%, or 45 million people, are contributing the vast majority of the text messages being sent each month.

According to CTIA, The International Wireless Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry, text message sending and receiving jumped from 14.4 million in 2000 to 363 billion in 2007, with a monthly average of about 48 billion. In the first quarter of 2008, Verizon Wireless alone delivered nearly 58 billion text messages from coast to coast.

Looking at 2000 census data, ~20% of the then-population of the U.S. were aged 13 to 19. The numbers are surely a bit different today, but they can't be that far off. So all those huge text messaging numbers that the network operators are crowing about each month? Yep, it has to be all from teenagers. Seriously.

What population segment Access and Amplitude spoke to about messaging features had to be skewed heavily towards power users who actually do more than stick their cell phones in their glove compartment for emergencies.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing