Posted by: Ann Treacy | March 26, 2013

Study shows adult Minnesotans have increased their use of smartphones for Internet access

Some interesting stats from Connect Minnesota…

ST. Paul, MN – New data from Connect Minnesota shows that approximately 2.1 million (51%) adults in the state use the Internet on their cell phones or subscribe to mobile wireless service for a laptop or tablet computer. The previous year’s survey showed that 39%, or 1.6 million adults in the state, used mobile Internet service; a 12 percentage point increase.

In 2011 and 2012, Connect Minnesota conducted residential technology assessments in Minnesota to measure the growth of mobile Internet. The study shows that the reasons Minnesotans do (or do not) choose to access mobile Internet on their cell phones are multi-faceted. In addition we explored questions that have been raised nationally, such as the impact of data caps on mobile broadband adoption and usage.

This survey was conducted in support of Connect Minnesota’s efforts to close Minnesota’s digital gap and explores the barriers to adoption, rates of broadband adoption among various demographics, and the types of activities broadband subscribers conduct online, among other findings.

The data are available via an interactive widget on the Connect Minnesota website.

“Connect Minnesota’s research shows that mobile broadband plays an ever-increasing role in how Minnesotans get online,” said Connect Minnesota State Program Manager Bill Hoffman. “As we look ahead, I think mobile broadband will continue to be an integral part of Minnesota’s broadband landscape.”

Among the key findings of the residential survey are:

  • Among Minnesotans who use mobile Internet and subscribe to home broadband service, 13% say they use their home broadband service less frequently now that they have mobile Internet.
  • Minnesotans who use mobile Internet but do not subscribe to traditional home broadband service are younger, have a lower median household income, and are more likely to reside in rural areas of the state than Minnesotans with home broadband subscriptions.
  • Approximately 557,000 cell phone owners cite wanting to access the Internet while away from home as their main reason for using mobile Internet service.
  • Among Minnesota adults who subscribe to mobile Internet service, 37% say that their plan comes with “data caps,” or restrictions on how much data they can use.
  • Nearly one in three Minnesota adults who have mobile Internet plans with data caps say they had gone over their limit in the previous year. Geographically, 27% of suburban Minnesotans with an Internet cell phone plan have gone over their monthly data limit at least once in the past year. That’s a lower percentage than urban or rural residents.
  • Of the 1.4 million Minnesotans not subscribing to Internet on their cellphones, 27% say that the main reason they do not use mobile Internet service is because they do not want or need it.

Connect Minnesota’s 2012 Residential Technology Assessment was conducted in late 2012 and includes responses from 1,201 residents. The survey was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

For a quick comparison, I’ll remind folks of the Pew report on teens and technology I mentioned recently, they reported…

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.

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