Huge growth in texting, mobile Web access

Just in the first half of this year, people sent 740 billion text messages over the US cellphone networks, according to CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade association. That’s 4.1 billion a day and nearly double the number (385 billion) for the first half of 2008. Photo and other media sharing has grown even more. CTIA’s semi-annual survey found that “more than 10.3 billion MMS messages were reported for the first half of 2009, up from 4.7 billion in mid-year 2008.” That spelled a 31% increase in revenue from data (non-voice) for the industry over the first half of 2008. In fact, there’s growth every which way you look. Users: There were 276 million cellphone users this past January through June, up 14 million. Minutes: 1.1 trillion, or 6.4 billion a day. Revenues: $76 billion for the wireless industry in those six months. [“MMS” stands for “multimedia message service” and “SMS” for “short message service,” now just “texting.”] Here’s Washington tech pundit Adam Thierer’s blog post on the survey. [See also “Teen drivers: Take a ‘text stop’” and “House rules for texting.”]

Web access over mobile phones is showing big growth, too – in fact, the mobile Web is overtaking the fixed one, internationally. “More people are using cell phones and other portable devices for high-speed Web access than are signing up for fixed line [computer] subscriptions to the Net,” according to report from the International Telecommunications Union cited in the San Jose Mercury News. It projects 600 million mobile broadband subscriptions by the end of this year, compared to 500 million “fixed line subscriptions,” a 50% increase for mobile over the past year.

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