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Spending on cellular services tops residential phone spending

Fri, 01/16/2009 - 7:10am
Mike Robuck

According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, cell phone expenditures surpassed spending of residential landline phone services last year.

Overall, spending on cell phones has increased rapidly from 2001 through last year, according to the data.

Annual expenditures for cellular phone services per consumer unit increased from $210 in 2001 to $608 in 2007, an increase of 190 percent. On the flipside, expenditures for residential phone services per consumer unit decreased from $686 to $482 in that same period, for a decrease of 30 percent.

In 2001, the ratio of spending on residential phone services to spending on cellular phone services was greater than 3 to 1. In 2007, cellular phone expenditures accounted for 55 percent of total telephone expenditures, compared with 43 percent for residential phone expenditures.

Another trend noted in the data was that the distribution of telephone service expenditures between residential telephone/pay phone services and cellular phone services has changed significantly in all age groups since 2001.

For example, in 2001, the share of total telephone services spent on cellular phone service for consumer units whose reference person was under 25 years was 26 percent. By 2007, the share had risen sharply, to 75 percent.

Similarly, but less dramatically, shifts have occurred for all other age groups.

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