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Smartphone Sales and Data Usage Surge in U.S.

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rom surfing the Web and instant messaging to sharing videos and doing business remotely – more U.S. consumers are now experiencing the benefits of smartphones.

Thirty-eight percent of U.S. mobile phone owners now have a smart phone, according to market tracking organization Nielsen . And, in the period between March and May 2011, 55 percent of people who purchased a new mobile phone chose a smartphone. This is a leap from the same period from last year, when 34 percent picked a smartphone.

Nielsen also gave us some insight into which phone operating systems consumers love the most. While Android is the most popular (38 percent of smartphone users own an Android handset), the Apple iPhone has actually shown the most growth in recent months, and has a market share now at 27 percent.

Not only are consumers buying smartphones, but they are using more data than ever. In another recent report, Nielson said that in the period of Q1 2010 to Q1 2011, the average smartphone user’s monthly data consumption jumped from 230MB to 435MB.

And, some additional good to news for consumers – mobile carriers are reducing data prices. According to the June 17, 2011 report, authored by Don Kellogg, the senior manager of telecom research and insights at Nielsen,
“The amount the average smartphone user pays per unit of data has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last year, from 14 cents per megabyte (MB) to a mere 8 cents.”

Why this increase in smartphone purchases and data usage? It could be due to the availability of increasingly fast mobile networks (like Verizon’s 4G LTE network), and new and convenient applications that take advantage of this speed. This, together with data usage rates that are decreasing, may be what is luring consumers over to “the smart side.”

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