As the FCC beats the drum for more wireless spectrum, surveys continue to support its position that America is headed toward needing more bandwidth. Six-in-10 American adults are now wireless Internet users, whether by cell phone (40%) or via a laptop with WiFi or mobile broadband card (47%), says the latest survey from Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The 59% now going online wireless is up from 51% who did so at a similar point in ’09. This year, Pew asked some new questions and gathered the following data:
  • 54% have used their mobile device to send someone a photo or video.
  • 23% have accessed a social networking site using their phone.
  • 20% have used their phone to watch a video.
  • 15% have posted a photo or video online.
  • 11% have purchased a product using their phone.
  • 11% have made a charitable donation by text message.
  • 10% have used their mobile phone to access a status update service such as Twitter.
Another interesting finding from Pew is that African Americans and Latinos outpace whites in their use of data apps on handheld devices. This was brought up during development of the National Broadband Plan with mobile devices seen as a way to get broadband to more communities. 64% of African Americans and 63% of Latinos are wireless Internet users, and minority Americans are more likely to own a cell phone than their white counterparts (87% of blacks and Hispanics own cell phones vs 80% of whites), Pew said. The study only included English-speaking Hispanics.
Not surprisingly young adult (18-29) had the highest usage of mobile apps, but 30-49s use of those services is growing fast. The apps with the largest increases among this group include taking pics (83%, up 12 points from ’09); recording videos (39%, +18 points); playing music (36%, +15); instant messaging (35%, +14) and accessing the Net (43%, +12).

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