Dependency on Wireless Services

Our cellular and smartphones are something we now take for granted everyday, a service that was only for the uber-rich 25 years ago. Now, cellular phones are almost a necessity of life, with parents even outfitting their children with their own smartphones and even the most Luddite Americans probably have a cellular phone. And nowadays, they’re used for much more than telephone calls—they’re used for sending messages, surfing the web, keeping up on news, driving directions, depositing a check, ordering food, and literally thousands of other applications.

MyWireless.org recently conducted a survey of wireless phone users to gauge exactly how consumers use their cellular devices and their satisfaction with their current services. Overall, it appears wireless consumers are fairly satisfied with their service. According to the survey, 94% of respondents reported being satisfied with their wireless service, a 3% increase from the same question asked last year.

When it comes to how Americans live their everyday lives, the survey shows a strong reliance on their cellular service, with the majority of respondents saying their cell phone is more important than broadband Internet, cable TV and their landline phones. A full 40% report this importance, with the number going up to 44% for African-Americans and 52% for those aged 18-29. You can see the reasoning for the importance when looking at the numbers of people who have given up their landlines—27% of respondents have already given up their landlines, with another 35% saying that they’d be open to giving theirs up.

With the importance that consumers place on their cellular devices, it’s no wonder there’s such a strong aversion to any further government regulations governing their devices and services. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said their phone service would get worse instead of better, as compared to 23% who thought otherwise. A full 70% believes that new government regulations would increase the costs of owning a phone, with only 7% saying regulations would make phones cheaper. This is borne out in the facts, with heavy regulation and taxation of wireless service across the states averaging out to over 16%.

The entire survey is a treasure trove of other statistics that paint a vibrant picture of the state of the wireless industry today, showing that the wireless service is vital to people’s everyday lives. Ninety-two percent of people find the Internet is essential to their lives, with 80% saying they use their smartphones to access the Internet. Clearly, cellular service has become a necessity for most consumers—and government should take note of the state of the industry, ensuring it remains this way without further government intervention.

Zack Christenson writes on digital tech issues for The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research

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