An increasing number of Americans use their smartphone as the primary source of Internet access within their home. This finding comes from a recent report by the Pew Research Center released at the end of April. With the advent of 5G technology nigh, this smartphone Internet trend is only expected to grow.

Let’s dive into the details of the Pew report. Perhaps there are a few actionable insights to note when you consider your own household’s Internet service? Does it make sense to truly cut the cord and use your mobile phone? Ultimately, that depends on your usage, especially if you stream TV, movies, and sports.

A Closer Look at the Pew Research Internet Usage Report

The lead finding of the Pew Research Center report involves Americans’ opinions on whether the Web is good for society. In short, this overall view remains largely positive. For our purposes, however, a focus on Pew’s smartphone Internet usage findings is warranted.


The Samsung Galaxy S9 highlighted Mobile World Congress 2018. Photo copyright Samsung.

The report notes the number of households using a smartphone as its only source of Internet access is now 20 percent. This number shows a 7 percentage point increase from 2015 – a pretty significant jump. 65 percent of the survey respondents use wired broadband Internet service, while 15 percent still forego any Internet service.

According to the Pew report: “those who rely on their smartphones for home internet service are disproportionately less likely to have attended college compared with those with traditional broadband service. They also report living in lower-income households.” Cheaper Android phones make it easier to get Internet access on the cheap.

Notably, 90 percent of American households with annual incomes over $75,000 use broadband Internet service. This percentage is double of those with household incomes less than $30,000 per year. When considering Americans with no Internet access, 40 percent of those are senior citizens.

The Future of Smartphone Only Internet Service

Ultimately, it’s reasonable to expect the number college-educated users using smartphone-only Internet access to grow as 5G adoption increases. Until that point, it makes little sense for heavy Internet users to cut their coax or fiber. A poor mobile data connection depending on your location also matters.

Still, powerful mobile phones, like the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone X provide good mobile Internet access. This makes it easy to stream a movie from Netflix using a mobile device and view it on your big screen TV. Additionally, a robust Internet connection is necessary to view web pages containing rich media content.

Even though 4G speeds allow for video streaming, mobile data caps make that a costly proposition. This especially holds true for customers without an unlimited data plan. Of course, increased use of zero-rating services from providers like Verizon and AT&T in the wake of the Net Neutrality repeal could mitigate that issue.

The best course of action for most Internet and smartphone users involves keeping your broadband service and wi-fi network. Pay attention to the growth of 5G and other changes in the market. Within a few years, smartphone Internet service in America is only expected to grow.