You Got M-Mail! Mobile E-Mail Usage Doubled in 6 Months

According to NPD’s Mobile Consumer Track, personal e-mail usage on mobile phones increased from 3% of mobile phone users in March 2006 to 6% in September 2006. Mobile e-mail has a long way to go before it rivals traditional PC-based e-mailing, but growing numbers of U.S. consumers have begun to test-drive e-mailing on-the-go. 

“Until recently consumers used their mobile devices primarily to make phone calls and send text messages,” said Neil Strother, research director for wireless devices at The NPD Group. “But with a growing number of wireless subscribers choosing smartphones, and with the introduction of better software options, we’re beginning to see more consumers jump on board with e-mail, too.”

There’s a correlation between unlimited data plans and an increase in the use of personal e-mail. Those with unlimited data plans are much more likely to use personal e-mail (35% in September) versus those with limited data plans (12%), or those who pay by usage (7%).

  • 30% of consumers with household incomes above $100K per year represent the largest share of mobile personal e-mailers. 
  • Among major carriers, Sprint led the pack with 12% of their subscribers using personal e-mail the prior month, followed by T-Mobile with 9%.

Other Mobile Consumer Track findings from Q3 2006 include the following:

  • 36% of mobile phone users used text functionality on their mobile phones in the third quarter.  In fact in September 2006, 60% of subscribers in the 18- to 24-year-old age range used text messaging. 
  • Sprint leads among carriers in unlimited data plans with 11% of its subscribers on this type of plan.  
  • 12% of wireless subscribers in September 2006 reported using picture messaging in the prior month.


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