Phone calls, pfft. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

The average phone call lasted 3.03 minutes in 2006, the year before the iPhone was rolled out by AT&T. At the end of last year, it took 1.78 minutes, down by nearly half.

Monthly use by the customers who buy contracts has followed suit. After peaking at an average of 826 minutes per month in 2007, the average fell to 681 minutes at the end of 2011.

A few years ago, Clive Thompson predicted this would happen, noting that the whole rigmarole of phone calls and voice messages were “emotionally high-bandwidth” and excruciating. (Among other things, he notes that one-fifth of all voice messages are never listened to.) Far easier to text or e-mail — and, if necessary, set up a call.

The Wall Street Journal explains, however, that it’s a headache for phone companies, given that voice calls are still two-thirds of what they charge customers, and minutes are plummeting.