According to the study, 82% more mobile data was consumed by customers in 2018 compared to the previous year. The survey recorded 28.58 trillion megabytes (MB) of mobile data used during the year. The rise in mobile data consumption can be attributed to the increase of devices that are connected to mobile networks. Compared to the 21.5 million connected mobile devices used in 2017, there are 421.7 million devices connected in 2018. The report shows that almost half of that number comprise smartphones. There was also a growth of subscriber connection by 5.4%.
In addition to smartphones, most of the increase during the year is attributed to data-only devices. This comprises of IoT devices, smartwatches, and connected cars. There has been a 10% growth of data-only devices reported in 2018. This number has led to a total of 139.4 million devices.
CTIA’s president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker shared that “Americans are consuming more wireless data than ever.” The executive also shared that the “exponential growth underscores the need to continue to free up spectrum to keep up with demand, and provide the much needed capacity for next-generation 5G networks.”
As for the operators side, the report showed that there has been an increase of $1.8 billion in investments during the year. The total of investments is $27.4 billion dollars.
The report also accounted for the 349,344 5G cell sites that are in operation. This is an increase of over 25,000 cell sites from the previous year. The growth in this sector documents the largest year-over-year change ever since 4G was deployed in 2010-2011.
As a whole, the penetration for the wireless industry has grown 4.9% in 2018.
Apart from the increase in mobile data usage, the report also documented an increase in voice calls (10%) and text messaging (16%) during the year.
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