64% of Americans own a smartphone, but it becomes an issue with money for 23% of them

64% of Americans own a smartphone, but it becomes an issue with money for 23% of them
The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show that 64% of Americans owned a smartphone at the end of last year. That is a pretty meaningful jump from the 35% who owned a smartphone three years ago. 15% of those polled say that a smartphone is their main connection to the internet. But smartphones are not cheap to use. 23% of U.S. smartphone owners and 48% of those who are dependent on their handset have been forced to shut or suspend their service because of the cost.

The survey, which covered more than 2000 people contacted by telephone, revealed that U.S. smartphone users are not buying enough data to cover the amount that they are consuming each month. 15% of them often find themselves exceeding their data allowance while 33% find that their data allowance prevents them from having a totally mobile lifestyle. 20% of U.S. smartphone users consider their monthly data plan to be a "financial burden."

Texting remains extremely popular with 97% of the respondents saying that they text at least once a week. Those in the 18 year-old to 29 year-old range still use the phone with 93% saying that they make at least one phone call every week. And while smartphones are supposed to be a device that allows you to be mobile and escape from your office desk or your big comfy chair at home, 30% of those surveyed felt that their handset was a leash instead of a tool making them free. 28% find their phone to be a distraction rather than a device that helps them stay connected to the world.

Cheaper handsets have helped smartphone penetration increase steadily in the U.S. But at some point, smartphone usage will peak. Based on the research from Pew, when that occurs data plan pricing could play an important role in continuing the growth of smartphone penetration in the states.

via: TheGuardian

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35 Comments

1. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Kids play a huge role in this for many parents. Use, theft, bratiness...

2. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3098; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Smartphones are only as smart as their owners.

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Main problem in the US is the monopolies that hold a deathgrip on mobile tariffs. Here in the UK for example I have unlimited 4g data and 600 minutes and 5000 texts (the latter two I don't use up much at all) for 15 pounds with added bonuses such as tethering and free roaming in several countries in Europe as well as NA. In Canada, data of about 2 GB alone costs upwards of 40-50 dollars which is somewhat ridiculous. Putting that to 3 or 4 GB will nearly bankrupt anyone without a spare yacht.

7. Fissionline

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 01, 2015

Monopolies are a part, but the sheer upfront cost of infrastructure to provide coverage is the main driver. For intstance, the UK covers just 94,000 sq. miles while the contiguous United States covers 3.2 million sq. miles. Eventually the companies will recoup their equipment costs and data plans will become more affordable.

10. CamaroSS

Posts: 173; Member since: Jul 24, 2012

Right on, but how much longer do we have to wait? We had unlimited 3G data (on ATT) in 2008, then came LTE. By the time carriers recoup LTE costs, 5G will be out. At this rate, I don't see cheap data in the near future.

31. Cicero

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

You have to take into account the number of clients.

9. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

WTF ?! What network you talking about ? I just took a EE sim only contract for a year.

13. keekai05

Posts: 116; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

I think he's on 3 with that kind of plan

21. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

I think so too but 3 is not that cheap TBH. LOL, are you really from US (as seen on your profile). If so I must be ashamed that someone from other country knows about UK more than me :D

4. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Smartphones can be as cheap to use, even cheaper than non smartphones. It sounds like data management is a problem for some, and the carriers, MVNOs etc need to help teach those with this issue how to manage it better.

5. JaneChenLong

Posts: 374; Member since: Mar 18, 2015

I think the data rate in US were tooo damn expensive.

8. Shubham412302

Posts: 564; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

the data as well as the call and sms rates are way too high in US

11. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

For the big 4 carriers, generally yes, but if you look at their MVNOs you can find some really good rates. T-Mobile even has a plan with unlimited data, first 5 GB of LTE for $30.

18. hulk_14

Posts: 72; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

In Poland for about 15$ I have 10 GB of LTE and unlimited mobile talks .

19. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

What carrier is this? Is it a regional carrier in Poland? Is it an MVNO? To get 10 GB of LTE data here you have to spend $50+ for a single line. There's one plan that offers 10 GB of HSPA+ for $45, but that is quite a difference between countries. The best here data wise is 5 GB of LTE for $15, which I believe is also unlimited but throttled after that. It's also good for use in 120+ countries, although SIM cards can't be used in phones, so you'd have to use a small tablet with a service like Google Voice to have it operate like a traditional phone for talk and text. After that, there's a $20 unlimited talk, text and data plan, but only the first 1 GB is LTE, after that throttled to 3G.

23. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Yes they are, and lots of indigent folks like to be pretentious. Working in department stores or/and fast food joints, with flagship devices every cycle. I guess everyone wants to keep up with ....

6. Azhar_Yousuf

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

Too bad most people think this as April Fool :p

12. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I can't tell you how many times people say "I'm poor!", but pulls out their iPhone on Verizon and never considers switching. It pisses me off so much....

15. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Or, even worse, their cigarettes and beer. I can't tell you how many people over the years I've heard complaining about having no money, but they're smoking two packs a day (at what, like $8 a pack these days) and drinking their six pack a night.

17. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

And then they get jealous when they see you with nice things. Well stop pissing away our money on Verizon, especially in my area where they are about the same. (T-Mo has great coverage in NJ). People just don't know how to be smart with their money.

20. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not so much in South Jersey. My main phones are on Verizon, but I also have a Oneplus One on T-Mo, and coverage is spotty at best, whereas with my Verizon phones it's saturated.

22. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Where in south Jersey? I am more on the shore (Monmouth county), and I barely have spots. It's been improving too.

24. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Amen +1

14. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

This story is exactly why the, "you don't need expandable storage, there's plenty of cloud storage" argument is a crock. One of the reasons, anyway.

16. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

LOL. That 23% are probably mostly Verizon users or iPhone owners. The bang for the buck with those companies aren't very good. Switch to an unlocked Moto G, or BLU phone on T-Mobile/MetroPCS or Cricket and you'd have less monthly burden. But in order to lessen your financial burden you have to be smart enough to get yourself away from the hip/hype that surrounds companies...

25. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Any thoughts on Cricket in the northeastern parts of US? After AT&T take over. Thank you in advance.

28. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

voice and text work very well I say it ia no diffirent on Art service but data is not great compare to postpaid.

26. Topcat488

Posts: 1411; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

How can it be tolerated that for example you have 100 minutes on your phone, but if someone else calls YOU, your minutes are being used! Corporations have a hold on this country that is just unbelievable... O.o I've lived over 30 years in Germany as an American, have been in the USA since Nov. 2013... It's time to head back to Deutschland to live...

27. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Thank goodness for prepaid. I went back to at&t prepaid 60$ talk text W/4gb data. I'll never go back to contract. Greedy bastards. Most people don't know how much money u can save buying a unlocked phone n a pre paid SIM CARD

29. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

because many not tech savy and most don't know, and they want best and lastest without payment upfront.

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