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Mobile Web Use On the Rise In The US

July 8, 2010

Although the number of Americans using mobile devices to access the Web is on the rise, the US is still far behind other Internet-connected countries, including South Korea, Japan and parts of Europe.

“We are a third-world country where mobile is concerned. The rest of the world is using mobile phones underground, to pay for a parking space blocks away, to buy a Coke from a vending machine,” Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California (USC), told the Associated Press (AP). “We in America are still having trouble getting our phones to (make calls).”

In the latest survey, conducted by the Center for the Digital Future last year, they found that 25 percent of US Internet users went online using their cellphones. That is a 9 percent increase from 2008 and a 20 percent increase from 2002.

“The mobile phone is the single most valuable device in people’s lives,” Cole told AP. “It’s becoming a device you use for virtually everything.”

On average, people who used their cellphones for online activities, did so for about 2.5 hours per week in 2009, a 0.8 hour increase from a year earlier.

A separate study, from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, supports those findings. It found that 40 percent of US adults used a mobile device to access the Web, send an e-mail or use instant messaging. The May 2010 figures are an 8 percent increase from 2009.

The Pew survey also found that more people reported using their cellphone to take photos, play games and listen to music compared to a year earlier.

The USC report, which is scheduled for release later this month, also finds that overall Internet use is on the rise.

The report states that Americans spend an average of 19 hours per week online, up from 9.4 hours in 2000. Also, 82 percent of Americans said they use the Internet in 2009, compared to 67 percent in 2000.

The USC telephone survey of nearly 2,000 Americans over 12 was conducted in April 2009. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. The Pew survey included 2,252 US adults. It was conducted in May 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

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