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Texting Statistics

Source: The Nielson Company

As of Q3 2008, 203 million of the 263 million U.S. wireless subscriber lines paid for text messaging either as part of a package or on a transaction-basis. From a penetration and usage perspective, The Nielsen Company estimates that 57 percent of all mobile subscribers ages 13 and older use text messaging on a regular basis. Text messaging has become so popular, in fact, that U.S. mobile subscribers now send and receive more text messages in a month than they make phone calls.


Average Number of Monthly Calls vs. Text Messages
Among U.S. Wireless Subscribers

  Calls Texts
Q1 2006 198 65
Q2 2006 216 79
Q3 2006 221 85
Q4 2006 213 108
Q1 2007 208 129
Q2 2007 228 172
Q3 2007 226 193
Q4 2007 213 218
Q1 2008 207 288
Q2 2008 204 357
Source: The Nielsen Company
Table 2

Average Number of Monthly Calls vs. Text Messages Among U.S. Wireless Subscribers by Age (Q2 2008)

  Calls Texts
All Subs 204 357
12 & Under 137 428
Ages 13–17 231 1742
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

Texting Solutions Nielsen recently reported that as of Q2 2008, mobile subscribers sent or received an average of 357 text messages per month, compared with placing 204 phone calls. That’s not to say that a good old fashioned phone call has become less popular—that average has stayed fairly consistent over the past two years (from 216, on average, in Q2 2006)—but the average number of text messages sent or received has increased 351 percent, from 79 text messages sent or received, on average, in Q2 2006. (See Table 1.)

Demographically speaking, teenagers average the greatest number of text messages sent or received, at 1,742 messages per month in Q2 2008. Still, even a typical U.S. mobile subscriber between the ages of 35 and 44 will now send or receive more text messages, on average, than make phone calls. (See Table 2.)

This goes to say that text messaging has embedded itself in the American communication lifestyle. For that matter, Texting has been an important part of the mobile experience internationally as well. Nielsen’s most recent estimates for text message use in 12 countries show that, while 53 percent of American mobile subscribers send text messages each month, Texting is even more ubiquitous in countries such as Italy and China. (See Table 3.)

Table 3

Latest Text Message Usage Estimate by Country
Text Message Use Among Wireless Subscribers (Past 30 Days)

Russia 77%
Sweden 85%
Italy 78%
Spain 76%
United Kingdom 76%
China 72%
France 71%
India 63%
Germany 60%
Brazil 60%
United States 57%
Canada 53%
Source: The Nielsen Company