Published On: Mon, Apr 13th, 2015

Smartphones a lifeline for many Americans: study

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WASHINGTON: Americans love their smartphones and rely on them as a key way to go online, but many find the cost too steep, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Pew Research Center found some 64 percent of American adults owned a smartphone as of the survey last year, almost double the percentage of 2011.

And 15 percent of those surveyed said they had a smartphone and “limited” access to the Internet from other sources. Ten percent in the survey said they had no broadband Internet at home.

In sum, the figures mean around one out of 14 Americans is “smartphone dependent,” with no high-speed Internet at home and little access elsewhere, Pew said.

A large number of these “smartphone-dependent” users are young adults: some 15 percent of those in the 18-29 age group fit that description, the survey found. Those with lower incomes and lower educational attainment were also more likely to depend on their handsets.

“Compared with smartphone owners who are less reliant on their mobile devices, these smartphone-dependent users are less likely to own some other type of computing device, less likely to have a bank account, less likely to be covered by health insurance and more likely to rent or to live with a friend or family member rather than own their own home,” the Pew report said.

But because these people have lower incomes, many have had trouble paying their smartphone bills, according to Pew. Around 23 percent of smartphone owners said they had to cancel or suspend their service for financial reasons, and 15 percent said they often reach the maximum amount of data allowed on their plan.

“The connections to online resources that smartphones facilitate are often most tenuous for those users who rely on those connections the most,” said Aaron Smith, a Pew researcher.–Agencies

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