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US Wireless Data Goes Through the Roof

This is not going to be a very surprising article with the ever increasing popularity of smart phones, and experts all but predicted the trend of increased wireless data usage, but I think you will find the numbers simply staggering. Frankly, they are somewhat hard to comprehend even for those if us that consider ourselves tech geeks.

According to popular technology consulting firm, Chetan Sharma the US wireless data data industry grew 25% in the third quarter of 2010 vs the same timeframe last year. Sharma also predicts that by the end of 2010 the average US data consumption will be about 325 Megabytes per month an increase of 112 percent from 2009 as well as “the total US Mobile data traffic will exceed 1 Exabyte for the first time in history”.

Now, most of us have never even heard of an Exabyte let alone be able to conceptualize it so let’s get some perspective. An Exabyte is equivalent to 1000 petabytes. Yeah, I said the same thing, “what the heck is a Petabyte?”, but I soon came to find out that 1000 Petabytes is equal to a billion Gigabytes. One Exabyte is a million Gigabytes! Let’s stop and think about that for a second. I am excited about the Black Friday sale at Target in where a 2 Terabyte hard drive will be offered for $69 and we are talking about total usage in the US to be a BILLION Gigabytes. Needless to say that is a ton of data. I no longer wonder why carriers are putting caps on data plans, which doesn’t mean I like the caps.


As to why the data spikes here are some facts that might enlighten us:

  • In Q3 2010, 47 percent of the devices sold in the U.S. were smartphones, compared to 24 percent globally.
  • U.S. wireless data service revenues grew seven percent Q/Q to $14B in Q310.
  • Verizon and AT&T accounted for 85 percent of the increase in data revenues in Q3 2010.

While data usage was going nuts I don’t think it is to anyones surprise that voice usage is still pretty stagnant as shown by the accompanied graph. More people are sending text messages, utilizing instant messages for communication and exchanging pleasantries on Facebook and Twitter.

How have you seen your cellular voice and data usage change over the last year or two? Are you communicating differently now that smart phones seems to rule the world?

Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...