By Christine Smith, Public Affairs Staff
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Blackberry 6210. According to Time Magazine, it was the first Blackberry to combine phone functionality—sans headset—with email, SMS and web-browsing capabilities. That may sound humdrum now, but the device’s long-term impact was enough for Time to rank the Blackberry 6210 among “The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time.”
To quantify the evolving impact of phones on our lives, we bring you three fascinating areas of trivia.
The latter half of 2016 was the first time that a majority of American homes had wireless telephone service but no landline. This was noted in the April issue of Page One Economics by Jeannette Bennett, a senior economic education specialist with the St. Louis Fed’s Memphis Branch.
That finding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, which has been releasing briefs on wireless substitution trends in America since late 2006. The center’s July-December 2016 National Health Interview Survey (PDF) revealed that, for the first time, more than half of American homes did not have a landline, but did have at least one wireless telephone. This was a turning point in the long-running survey.
The number of wireless-only homes continued inching up, to 52.5 percent, in the latest survey release, January-June 2017 (PDF). Other preliminary findings:
About 87 percent of the U.S. adult population has a mobile phone—and 77 percent of those phones are smartphones. This is courtesy of the Federal Reserve Board, which began conducting extensive surveys of American consumers’ use of mobile financial services in 2011. The latest Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report, released in 2016 (using 2015 survey data), also found that:
This video shows more highlights from the Federal Reserve Board’s findings.
That depends on how you look at the numbers. For sheer volume of subscriptions (as of 2016, the last year for which data are available), here are the top five:
This is according to the World Bank, as reported by the World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report and database.
But if you measure mobile subscriptions per capita, the runaway winner is tiny Macao. This special administrative region of China has about 322 mobile subscriptions for every 100 people. In second place is nearby Hong Kong, with about 241 subscriptions per 100.
With about 123 mobile subscriptions per 100 people, the U.S. comes in at 72nd of about 250 nations for which 2016 data are available.