- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2007

More Americans are ditching their land-line phones and using wireless devices as their primary telephones.

During the last six months of 2006, one out of every eight Americans (13 percent) lived in a wireless-only household, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Joe Farren of the wireless trade association CTIA calls this important and growing demographic the “cord-cutters.”

“Three years ago, only 7 percent of wireless users were cord-cutters; now we’re at 12.8 percent,” said Mr. Farren, the trade group’s spokesman. “So we’re definitely seeing an increase.”

There are three major reasons for this acceleration, he said.

“First, wireless carriers have invested in upgrading their networks, and as a result, the networks are far more robust with far fewer dropped calls.

“Secondly, mobile phones are like 20th-century Swiss army knives. These devices allow folks to text message, e-mail, surf the Internet, listen to music, watch movies and make phone calls.

“Finally, these things are mobile; they’re mini-computers in the palm of your hand, and they go wherever you go,” he said.

“To some extent this is a generational thing.”

According to a recent survey by Gartner Inc., 30 percent of all wireless customers ages 18 to 34 use their mobile phones as their only phone.

“My parents have a land line, but I don’t see the point when I’ve already got a phone in my pocket,” said Rob Dickey, a student at Catholic University.

“Plus, you can’t text message or send pictures from a land-line phone,” Mr. Dickey said. “I don’t understand why anyone uses them anymore.”

Some people prefer the privacy of a cell phone and the knowledge that salesmen and solicitors can’t find their number in a phone book.

“Cell phones are very personal devices, and we have not decided to publish a directory of cell-phone numbers,” said Heather Buffington, a spokeswoman for AT&T;, publisher of the Yellow Pages phone directory.

For others, the reason to cut the cord is simply a matter of economics.

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