The number of U.S. homes using only wireless telephones is growing, with two in every five households (41%) in the second half of 2013 reporting relying solely on cell phones, according to a National Health Interview Survey.

The number is up 2.8% from the second half of 2012 and 1.6% higher than the first half of last year but the increase is smaller than what's been observed in previous years. The report released this month presents the most updated estimates available from the federal government.

An estimated 39.1% of all adults (roughly 93 million people) lived in households with only wireless phones in the second half of last year. An estimated 47.1 million children (roughly 35 million) lived in households with only wireless phones.

Starting in 2007, researchers with the National Health Interview Survey began asking about the number of calls households receive on wireless phones if they also have a landline phone. Among households with both landline and wireless telephones, 33.6% received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones from July through December 2013.

According to ACA International, the largest association representing collection agencies, the trends highlight a major challenge facing members. Rules governing cell phones, included in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), were enacted in 1991. The use of modern technology, ACA reports, is critical for facilitating compliance with the many federal, state and local laws and regulations that govern all aspects of communications between the collection industry and consumers.

The TCPA was passed to address a rising number of telemarketing calls and other practices found to be an invasion of consumer privacy. It includes a provision that prohibits the use of automated telephone systems without a consumer’s prior consent when calling a wireless phone. For the public and private sectors, the TCPA has not kept pace with technology and the growth of consumer mobile device usage, according to ACA.

ACA has submitted a petition to the Federal Communications Commission seeking clarity on TCPA rules and regulations, including that express consent attaches to the debt, not the phone number.

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