Just over 38 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed by iGR indicate they do not have a landline phone, with service from any telco, ISP or cable company (they are mobile only households).

Of those respondents who do buy fixed network telephone service, just 24 percent of consumers said they use their landline phone “a lot.”

Another 23 percent said they use it “sometimes.”

About 14 percent reported having a landline they used “rarely or never.” Add that to the 38 percent of wireless-only households and a majority of U.S. households might now be functioning exclusively or nearly exclusively in mobile mode.

The 38 percent of mobile-only users are more likely to be under 35 years old, as you might expect.

At the moment, a higher percentage of households headed by older people use landline phones. There are at least a couple of ways to characterize that finding. One might argue that users find new uses for landline phones as they get older.

Or, one might argue that a shift of demand is taking place, and that older consumers are heavier users of landline phones out of habit. In that view, younger users will not suddenly find themselves “needing” fixed lien phone service as they get older.

The analogy here might be cable TV service. Decades ago, many observers would have questioned why a household would pay for TV when they could get it free over the air. For some decades after the adoption of cable TV began, one could still see a demographic difference in adoption rates, with the older demographic groups adopting at lower rates than other households.

To use the somewhat non-artful phrase, “some people don’t buy my product, but they’re dying.”

Survey respondents over 55 years old were 76 percent more likely to say they have a landline they “use a lot,” for example. compared to all other users. But that might be a strong habit originally developed at a time when the only phones were fixed network devices.

Millennials have grown up in a world where “everybody” uses a mobile for voice and messaging, and where that is seen as the preferred mode of communicating.

The annual survey by the Centers for Disease Control found in 2011 that 32 percent of homes are wireless only. The cord cutting trend seems less advanced in Canada, though, where a recent survey found about 15 percent of homes had cut the cord and become mobile-only households.

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