Fueled by ongoing improvements in devices and services, the popularity of mobile phones has been prompting telco customers to disconnect landline connections, or never bother to have them installed in the first place. According to new market research from GfK-MRI, more than four in ten (44 percent) of U.S. adults live in households with cell phones but no landline telephones.

The U.S. “cell phone-only” population has expanded 70 percent since 2010, GfK reports in “Survey of the American Consumer” report. Back in 2010, 26 percent of U.S. adults lived in cellphone-only households. That rose to 44 percent as of year-end 2014.

Cellphone-Only Households
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of young adult Millennials (born 1977-1994) rely solely on cellphones in their households. Corresponding figures for Hispanics, Generation X (born 1965-1976) and Baby Boomers (1946-1965) are 60 percent, 45 percent and 32 percent, respectively. In addition, 13 percent of “Pre-Boomers” live in cellphone-only households, according to GfK-MRI.

Breaking data out geographically, GfK-MRI found that “cellphone-only households are fairly evenly represented in the West (47 percent), Midwest (45 percent) and South (48 percent) but are much less prevalent in the Northeast (28 percent).”

The market research company posits that the difference could be related to the fact that “63 percent of adults in the Northeast live in homes with bundled digital services, which typically include a landline.” In contrast, 46 percent of adults in the West, 46 percent of those in the Midwest and 48 percent in the South live in households with bundled digital services.

With cellphone penetration among U.S. adults at 93 percent, smartphone ownership “skews heavily to Millennials and Gen Xers,” the market research company points out. Eighty-eight percent of U.S. Millennials and 79 percent of Gen Xers own smartphones as compared to 56 percent of Baby Boomers and 20 percent of Pre-Boomers, GfK-MRI says.

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