The use of mobile data increased 82% between 2017 to 2018, driven by increasing customer demand. According to a report by CTIA which has been tracking the evolution of the US wireless industry since 1985, tech providers increased their investment in wireless technologies in 2018 to meet this demand including the roll-out of 5G.
In 2018, mobile data grew 12.89 trillion MBs to a total of 28.58 trillion MBs, which is roughly equivalent to 250 million people playing Fortnite for 1,906 hours.
The use of data is up 73x over 2010.
At the same time, use of voice calls and traditional text messaging grew too. Consumers increased the time they spent talking on their phones by 9.6%, whilst the number of text messages exchanged was up 15.8%.
Americans used 21.5 million additional mobile devices last year, for a total of 421.7 million devices.
On average, smartphones generated 6.6 GB of data per month. Other wireless devices such as smartwatches, connected cars and health monitors grew 10% in 2018.
The US has been ramping up investment in its wireless network capabilities, increasing funds by $1.8 billion in 2018 to $27.4 billion.
This should drive the expansion of wireless network technologies including support for 5G.