CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Mobile

Early tech adopters drive wireless, Net

Longtime tech users are increasingly swapping traditional communications services, such as landline phones and television, for wireless devices and Internet means.

Early technology adopters in the United States are increasingly swapping traditional communications services for wireless devices and Internet means.

A study the Pew Internet and American Life Project published Monday reported that longtime U.S. technology users the are more willing to eschew longstanding means of communication, such as landline phones and television, in favor of mobile phones, the Internet and e-mail. The early adoption crowd also is more likely to switch Internet or telephone service providers in the name of better pricing and performance.


Get Up to Speed on...
VoIP
Get the latest headlines and
company-specific news in our
expanded GUTS section.


According to the study, roughly one-third, or 31 percent, of Americans make up what is considered to be the current tech elite--people who are the most voracious consumers of what the report calls "information goods or services." The early-adoption crowd is made up of three primary age groups, whom the Pew report classifies as: Young Tech Elite, Wired Baby Boomers and Wired Generation Xers. The last group, with a median age of 36, makes up more than 60 percent of the leading-edge technology adoption pack. The younger group, averaging 22 years old, and the Wired Baby Boomers, with a standard age of 52, account for roughly 20 percent of the early adoption set, respectively.

The Young Elite group, which accounts for an estimated 6 percent of the U.S. population, are the heaviest users of new technologies--and the most likely to ditch traditional communication systems for the latest devices. According to the Pew report, 80 percent of Americans in this demographic own cell phones, and 9 percent have already replaced any form of landline phone service with a wireless service plan.

By comparison, only 3 percent of all cell phone users surveyed had canceled landline service in favor of wireless. Sixty-seven percent of the Wired Generation Xers said they would not feel comfortable without a traditional landline phone, and 57 percent of Wired Baby Boomers agreed.


Get Up to Speed on...
Wi-Fi
Get the latest headlines and
company-specific news in our
expanded GUTS section.


However, the Pew report pointed to the recent approval of the Federal Communication Commissions' (FCC) number portability mandate as a possible catalyst for people to move completely from landline to wireless.

The study estimated that 62 percent of all Americans own a cell phone. Twenty percent of those wireless users said they would consider dropping landline services completely. According to the FCC, the number of landline phones in the United States dropped in 2002 for the first time in history, with 5 million lines disconnected.

On the flip side, the Wired Baby Boomers have created the most churn for . Some 52 percent of the people in this group have reportedly jumped from one ISP to another, with 63 percent doing so more than once. Among younger tech adopters, an estimated 51 percent from both the Young Elite and Wired Generation Xers have sampled multiple ISPs, with 60 percent of the former group having done so on more than one occasion and 61 percent of the latter group following suit.

The Internet is also driving down the number of phone calls tech-savvy Americans feel they need to make. According to the Pew research, nearly 20 percent of those polled felt they made fewer calls as a result of information garnered over the Web or via e-mail. Only 10 percent of respondents thought the Web led them to increase the number of phone calls they place, with a majority 70 percent saying it made no difference at all.