CTIA Study: We’re Using Lots of Mobile Data These Days

According to CTIA's Annual Wireless Industry Survey, 7 in 10 Americans now owns a smartphone, and between 2014 and 2015, our collective mobile data use more than doubled.

Need a sign that we’re getting more addicted to our phones than ever? Check out the amount of data we’re using.

According to new research released by CTIA: The Wireless Association, 2015 was a banner year for mobile data use. U.S. consumers collectively were responsible for 9.65 trillion megabytes of data consumption, more than double the amount consumers used in the prior year (4.06 trillion megabytes, in case you were wondering).

Compared to 2010, we’re consuming around 25 times as much data. One of the driving factors for that is the growth of the smartphone, which has been part of the American landscape for the past 20 years.

Data use is the key driver of growth in the smartphone market these days, according to the Annual Wireless Industry Survey. We used our phones for more than 2.8 trillion minutes and sent 2.11 trillion text and MMS messages, areas that continued to see growth, but at much smaller rates than that of data consumption. (In fact, texting use has arguably plateaued—it only increased by 1.7 percent between 2014 and 2015.)

In a news release, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker emphasized that the results showed how important it was to continue to expand access to the wireless spectrum. While infrastructure investment is still robust, totaling $31.9 billion in 2015, that’s actually a slight decrease from the prior year.

“Our record growth also highlights the continued need for a national focus on making more spectrum available to the mobile industry,” Baker said in the release.

The survey, while not a complete picture of the mobile market due to its voluntary nature, nonetheless covers nearly all of it—CTIA says that 97 percent of mobile providers voluntarily send their data to the organization.

You can read more from the survey at the CTIA website.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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