Mobile Data Usage by Age

How Teens use their Mobile Phones – Hint: Not for Phone Calls

Mobile Data Usage by Age

Nielsen published an interesting study on mobile data usage of teens and young adults in the US.

Here are the bullet points:

Nielsen analyzed data from a total of 65,000 people aged 13 to 65+. In the age group of 13 to 17-year-olds mobile data usage in 2011 has tripled, it  precisely increased by 256% compared with the same period last year. That sums up to an average of  320 MB of data per month, males have the lead over females with 382MB compared to 266MB.

When it comes to texting however, teen’s main preoccupation, the girls take the lead with an average 3952 messages per month. Boys “only” sent  2815 texts per month which comes to an average of 3417 messages per month. Everybody who thinks must be a maximum of text messages sent is wrong. The average number of text messages sent in 2011 decreased when compared with the average number of messages in 2010 when a staggering 3729 text messages were sent on average.

Aside from texting, most mobile data consumption according to Nielsen goes into social networking, email, downloading and using apps.

Responsible for the increase of mobile data usage is the adoption of mobile Internet consumption via smartphones by 45%.

Overall, the age group of young adults aged between 25 and 34 is still the group who uses the most mobile data with an average of 578 MB each month but closely followed by the 18 to 24-year-olds with 534MB per month.

It should not be ignored that  mobile data usage got a solid plus among all ages, ranging from between +91% to +133% among subscribers between 35 and 65+ years of age.

What about teens who actually use their mobile phones to make calls?

Well, that doesn’t seem to resonate much with teen behavior. Voice usage on mobile phones declined from an average of 685 to 572 minutes. Asked why, the top three reasons teens gave were that texting was faster (22%), easier (21%) and more fun (18%).

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at