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Cell phone growth up 5 percent; group warns of overbearing regulations

Consumers may be sheepish, but not when it comes to buying new cell phones. The number of the devices in the U.S. up 5 percent to 292.8 million cell phones in June 2010 compared to the same month last year.

The data, announced by the wireless trade group CTIA at its fall convention in San Francisco, showed comparable growth from 2008 to 2009. And text messaging and other data services continue to explode in popularity for cell phones users.

In June 2010, users sent 1.8 trillion SMS, or text messages, up 33 percent from the previous year. Multimedia texts (photos and videos) also rose sharply, up 187 percent to 56.3 billion messages.

U.S. consumers are increasingly using smart phones and wireless-enabled gadgets like the iPod. Those devices were up 50 percent to 61.2 million. Wireless carriers said data usage was up 49.8 percent to 161.5 billion megabytes.

Steve Largent, CEO of CTIA, said ahead of keynote speeches Wednesday morning that the wireless industry is a bright spot in the economic recession. He warned against regulations such as net neutrality that wouldn't allow carriers to manage data traffic on their networks.

In a followup keynote, Sybase CEO John Chen also warned of too much government intervention. Calling himself a "free-market" believer, Chen said regulation of wireless carriers and Internet applications at the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission could hurt business.

"The most scary part of all is what is going around the government," Chen said. "Some advocacy groups want the government to start regulating apps stores. I think that would be a major set back for the industry."

By Cecilia Kang  | October 6, 2010; 1:37 PM ET
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Initially I looked at the article and thought: finally! everybody is investing in a cheap tracfone. Everybody woke up and thought; hey maybe some moderation and control is what's neccessary to get our economy back up and running.
Only to find out that a minority group of cell phone, or smart phone users are gobbling up most of the wire. Maybe this will explain why almost all carriers are promoting maximum packages to high end users. Initially a lot of unlimited packages were in the market, and now they've all been cut back on the premise that there isn't actually something like 'unlimited'.
Is it my imagination, or does it seem that we're out of the reccession.

Posted by: Rohill | October 11, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse

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