Pew: 24% of Online Adults Use VoIP

According to the a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 24% of all American adult Internet users — or 19% of all U.S. adults — have used the Internet to complete a voice call. On any given day, 5% of Internet users are going online to place phone calls.

Both figures are marked increases from the last time Pew asked these questions in early 2007, and found that 8% of Internet users (6% of all adults) had placed calls online and 2% of Internet users were making calls on any given day.

Not surprisingly, Pew found that that most VoIP users tend to be younger, and most live in urban and suburban areas. In rural areas alone, Pew notes that 13% of online adults have used a VoIP service.

Pew attributes the rise to several factors:

  • it is free or cheaper than other types of phone calling;
  • it is enabled on many handheld devices like smartphones and tablet computers;
  • more meetings and classroom activities exploit online phone connections along with video capabilities;
  • and more families and friends are building online calls into their communications streams.

The rise of video calling, especially on smart phones, is also part of the story. In the current survey, Pew found that 7% of cell phone owners had participated in video calls or online chats with their handheld device.

The newest findings come from national survey findings from a poll conducted on landline and cell phones between April 26 and May 22, 2011, among 2,277 adults (age 18 and older). The online phone calling question was asked of 846 of them. The margin of error among the Internet users is +/- 3.7 percentage points.

For more, see the full report.




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