As if we needed more proof of the data crunch, CTIA’s latest annual survey shows both annual and monthly wireless data usage more than doubled from December 2014 to December 2015.
According to the survey, annual wireless data usage jumped from 4.06 trillion MB at year’s end 2014 to 9.65 trillion MB by the end of 2015. Similarly, monthly data usage totals skyrocketed from 338.4 billion MB in December 2014 to 804.2 billion MB a year later.
“Americans today have mobile-first lives,” CTIA CEO and president Meredth Attwell Baker said. “In 2014, we had a record amount of data on our 4G networks. Remarkably, the amount of traffic on mobile networks more than doubled last year and shows no signs of slowing down.”
CTIA’s survey indicated wireless penetration – taken as the number of active units divided by the total U.S. and territorial population – also continued to climb from 110 percent in 2014 to 115.7 percent in 2015.
All told, there were more than 228 million smartphones in the United States in 2015, up 10 percent from 2014’s figures. That figure compared with 41 million tablets on wireless networks, a figure which was also up 16 percent from the previous year.
And those devices are getting more use than ever before.
The survey found U.S. wireless customers clocked 2.88 trillion minutes of voice calls in 2015, up from 2.45 trillion minutes in 2014. Though the annual number of text messages dipped slightly from 1.92 trillion in 2014 to 1.89 trillion in 2015, the number of multimedia messages more than picked up the slack. Multimedia messaging surged in 2015, jumping from 151.99 billion messages in 2014 to 218.5 billion messages in 2015.
One number that didn’t go up, however, was the figure for capital investment. That number continued a slow decline from $33.1 billion in 2013 and $32.1 billion in 2014 down to $32 billion in 2015. According to the network investment outlooks provided by the four major U.S. wireless carriers in their first quarter earnings reports, that number may continue to drop in 2016.