Technology

Connected Devices Driving Wireless Growth, CTIA Says

With smartphones well saturated at this point, CTIA reports in its latest wireless survey that the real growth in the space is being pushed along by an array of smart devices, whether on your wrist or in your car.

With smartphones well saturated at this point, CTIA reports in its latest wireless survey that the real growth in the space is being pushed along by an array of smart devices, whether on your wrist or in your car.

As a culture, we’re becoming more data-hungry than ever.

And that’s something reflected in a new survey from the wireless association CTIA, which reported earlier this month that an impressive 15.7 trillion megabytes of mobile data were used in 2017. That is a 14.3 percent increase from 2016’s tally of 13.7 trillion megabytes and roughly 10 times the amount of wireless data traffic reported five years prior. It’s a whopping 40 times the traffic volume in 2010.

In its latest State of Wireless Report, CTIA also revealed that a major driving factor of the increased data use is in the form of data-only devices, such as wearables and connected cars.

“While we continue to see growth in our traditional industry metrics, we’re starting to see—for the first time—indicators that show us moving from an industry that connects everyone to an industry that connects everything,” the association noted in the report [PDF]. “One of these indicators is the strong growth in the number of data-only devices.”

CTIA says that connected devices saw a nearly 20 percent increase between 2016 and 2017, and that the trend is speeding up in 2018.

The increase in smart devices comes as traditional signifiers of mobile growth are stagnating or even in deep decline. The report found that the number of smartphones in the U.S. went up by 4.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, the number of subscriber connections went up by just 1.1 percent, and the level of messaging traffic (whether through SMS or MMS) fell by 8.8 percent.

In a news release, the association noted that the industry was focused on other kinds of growth in other ways, including an increase in cell sites and other wireless technology that will support the forthcoming 5G standard. In a news release, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker emphasized it showed the industry’s commitment to progress in deploying and improving wireless infrastructure.

“This year’s report shows that wireless is on the cusp of a transformation to tomorrow’s 5G networks and the Internet of Things, underscoring the need for continued efforts to modernize infrastructure rules and create a spectrum pipeline that ensures continued U.S. wireless leadership in the global race to 5G,” the release stated.

(metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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