Talk Isn't Cheap: Americans Cut Back on Cellular and Landlines

Sprint may find some relief in its prepaid service, Boost Mobile, as an ORC study finds that Americans are cutting back on cell phone spending - a trend that's expected to continue, despite more Americans getting rid of their landlines and relying only on cell phones.

Millions of U.S. consumers have already cut back on cell phone spending, and millions more are expected to join them as the economy forces users to be more cautious with their spending dollars.
These are the findings of Opinion Research Corp., which surveyed 2,005 Americans for the New Millennium Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
The full findings of the ORC survey will be reported on March 19, and NMRC and ORC representatives will explain how the fallout of this shift in consumer habits is likely to hurt contract-based cell phone carriers and benefit prepaid carriers, which enable consumers to better budget their spending.
One contract-based carrier, Sprint Nextel-which could use the help-offers a prepaid plan through Boost Mobile. T-Mobile also offers prepaid plans, as do many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), such as Virgin Mobile and Tracfone, which purchase and resell airtime under their own brand names.
Cell phone "extras" are also expected to be cut, reports the ORC, which will continue to ask consumers about their cell phone use over the course of the year, through a series of planned surveys.
Cell phone cost cutting comes even as a National Health Interview Survey reported that, also to reduce costs, more Americans are getting rid of their landlines and relying solely on cell phones-a distressing fact for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which relies on random calls to landlines for survey data and now fears that landline-free households are being unrepresented in CDC data.