Yep, you read the title correctly - Americans send approximately 4.1 billion text messages on a daily basis.
That works out to 14 text messages per day by every mobile phone user in the United States (keep in mind that this number is an average - the texting teenager is probably sending far more messages than the bank executive). In the past six months alone, mobile users in the United States have sent over 740 billion text messages. With numbers like those, we're on the way to passing 2008's record of one trillion text messages sent.
I'm all for dissecting figures like this by using practical examples, so Yahoo! Tech writer Ben Patterson's math shocked me. Here's an excerpt:
"An SMS has a maximum capacity of 160 characters, so let's say (for the sake of example) that your average text message is about 80 characters long. And let's assume that your average novel contains about 100,000 words, and each word has about five letters. So ... assuming all that (and keeping in mind that my math is a little shaky), we here in the States are writing the equivalent of about 656,000 books—all via SMS—every 24 hours. At that rate, we could match the entire catalog of the entire New York Public Library system (which holds about 20.4 million books) in a little over a month."
Other facts from the CTIA study included:
- The average cell phone bill in June 2009 was $49.57, up more than a buck from June 2008 (man, I wish my bill was that cheap).
- The average length of a voice call was just 2.03 minutes, shorter than any other year since the CTIA started keeping records in 1988.
- There are about 276,610,580 wireless subscribers in the U.S., up about 14 million from last year, and more than double the number in 2002.
- The various wireless carriers that reported for the CTIA study raked in $151.2 billion in revenue from June 2009 to June 2008, doubling what they made in 2002.
There you have it. Text messaging up, voice usage declining (and these figures are just for the US). Is this something to be concerned about, or is it just the natural evolution of communication?