Americans’ Wireless Data Use Continues to Skyrocket

CTIA released its Annual Wireless Industry Survey, which found Americans used a record 13.72 trillion megabytes (MBs) of mobile data in 2016, an increase of over 4 trillion MBs over 2015, and 35 times the volume of traffic in 2010.  The amount of data traffic sent over wireless networks in 2016 -13.72 trillion MBs – is the equivalent of 1.58 million years of streaming HD videos.

“Americans are using more wireless data than ever. As wireless becomes central to our lives and the U.S. economy, it’s no surprise that Americans’ mobile data usage continues to skyrocket,” said CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker.  “This continued growth underscores the need to free up more spectrum and modernize infrastructure processes at all levels of government to make way for next-generation 5G networks – and hundreds of billions of industry investment.”

Some other key findings from this year’s survey:

  • Data-intensive mobile devices continue to rise
  • Heavy traffic-generating devices, smartphones and wireless-enabled tablets and laptops, now total 309.8 million of the 395.9 million devices on carrier networks – a 238 percent increase since 2010.
  • There are more wireless devices than Americans
  • With 395.9 million total active devices in the U.S., adoption is now equal to 120.6 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 1.2 wireless devices per American.
  • Industry is committed to building world-leading networks
  • A record 308,334 cells sites were in operation in 2016, representing a 57 percent growth over the last decade, thanks to over $26 billion invested in 2016 alone.

May 12, 2017      

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