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Older Adults Shifting To Mobile Phones From Landlines

A Harris Interactive survey found that about one in seven adults uses only a cell phone, up from roughly one in 10 in 2006.

The number of people without traditional landline phones is increasing, as a growing number of U.S. adults use only mobile phones, a market research firm said Friday.

In a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of last year, Harris Interactive found that about one in seven adults only uses a cell phone, up from roughly one in 10 in 2006. The percentage of adults with landline phones has dropped slightly to 79% from 81%.

Surprisingly, the percentage of cell phone-only users split between Americans 30 or older and 18- to 29-year-olds, Harris said. Last year, 55% of the people who no longer used landlines were of the younger age group.

But that doesn't mean late teens and young adults are going back to landlines. On the contrary, cell phone-only usage among the younger group rose to 32% from 26% in 2006. The lower percentage of the overall number is only an indication that older Americans are increasingly tossing traditional phones, Harris said.

The majority of U.S. adults, however, are still using multiple approaches to making telephone calls. Three-quarters of the survey respondents were using landlines, cell phones, and Internet telephony.

But the percentage of adults with cell phones has increased significantly over the last year. Nearly nine in 10 adults have a mobile phone, up from 77% percent a year ago. As a result, the rapid adoption rates "will likely reshape the entire communications landscape within the next decade," Harris said.

What hasn't changed much is the percentage of people using Internet telephony, or voice over IP. Harris found about one in six adults using the Internet for calls, which is basically unchanged from 2006.

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