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In U.S., SMS Text Messaging Tops Mobile Phone Calling
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In U.S., SMS Text Messaging Tops Mobile Phone Calling

The typical U.S. mobile subscriber sends and receives more SMS text messages than telephone calls, according to research released Monday by Nielsen Mobile. 

During the second quarter of 2008, a typical U.S. mobile subscriber placed or received 204 phone calls each month.  In comparison, the average mobile customer sent or received 357 text messages per month — a 450% increase over the number of text messages circulated monthly during the same period in 2006.

Time Period Average Number of

Monthly Calls*

Average Number of

Monthly Text Messages*

Qtr 1, 2006 198 65
Qtr 2, 2006 216 79
Qtr 3, 2006 221 85
Qtr 4, 2006 213 108
Qtr 1, 2007 208 129
Qtr 2, 2007 228 172
Qtr 3, 2007 226 193
Qtr 4, 2007 213 218
Qtr 1, 2008 207 288
Qtr 2, 2008 204 357
Source: The Nielsen Company (January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008)
*Note: Data includes U.S. wireless subscribers only.

U.S. teens (ages 13 to 17) had the highest levels of text messaging in Q2 2008, sending and receiving an average of 1,742 text messages per month.  In comparison, teens took part in an average of 231 mobile phone calls per month, during the same time period.

Age Group Average Number of

Monthly Calls*

Average Number of

Monthly Text Messages*

All Subscribers 204 357
Ages 12 & Under 137 428
Ages 13-17 231 1,742
Ages 18-24 265 790
Ages 25-34 239 331
Ages 35-44 223 236
Ages 45-54 193 128
Ages 55-64 145 38
Ages 65+ 99 14
Source: The Nielsen Company (January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008)
*Note: Data includes U.S. wireless subscribers only.

Nielsen tracks billing activity through an opt-in panel of more than 50,000 personally liable, postpaid U.S. mobile lines across the top four carriers, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

Read more about text messaging trends in the U.S. in the November issue of Nielsen’s “Consumer Insight” online newsletter.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings in The New York Times, Wired, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cellular-news.com, Gearlog, and on CNET.com.