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Consumer Data Traffic Increased 104 Percent According to CTIA-The Wireless Association® Semi-Annual Survey


1.1  trillion MB of data were used from July 2011-June 2012

Prepaid subscribers represented 74.9 million out of the almost 322 million wireless subscriber connections

Average monthly bill, that includes voice, data and text usage, was $47.16

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans used more than 1.1 trillion megabytes (MB) of data from July 2011-June 2012, which was an increase of 104 percent over the previous 12 months according to CTIA-The Wireless Association® semi-annual survey released today at MobileCON™. The survey also revealed that smartphone adoption continues to grow impressively. As of June 2012, smartphones made up 131 million (or 41 percent) of the almost 322 million wireless subscriber connections. The number of tablets increased to 22 million, which is almost 17 percent of all wireless connections. In addition, there was an almost 10 percent increase in prepaid subscribers, from 68.4 to 74.9 million or 23.3 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers, from the previous year. Even though many consumers are using more voice, data and text than ever before, the average monthly bill went down $0.07 to $47.16 per month. These figures illustrate Americans' growing appetite for more mobile data and the wireless industry's need for more spectrum to meet their demands.


As of June 2012, the semi-annual survey results are:

  • Wireless subscriber connections: 321.7 million (101 percent penetration); June 2011: 306 million (5 percent increase).
  • Active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 130.8 million; June 2011: 95.8 million (37 percent increase).
  • Number of active data-capable devices: 300.4 million; June 2011: 278.3 million (8 percent increase).
  • Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 21.6 million; June 2011: 15.2 million (42 percent increase).

The 12-month survey results from July 2011-June 2012 compared to the previous July 2010-June 2011 figures are:

  • Wireless network data traffic: 1.16 trillion megabytes; June 2011: 568 billion megabytes (104 percent increase).
  • Minutes of Use (MOU): 2.321 trillion; June 2011: 2.251 trillion (3 percent increase).
  • SMS sent and received: 2.273 trillion; June 2011: 2.206 trillion (3 percent increase).
  • MMS sent and received: 58.3 billion; June 2011: 52.7 billion (10.6 percent increase).
  • Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice, data and text): $47.16; June 2011: $47.23 (0.2 percent decrease).

Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2009 shot clock ruling on tower siting, the number of cell sites continues to grow, which are key to providing wireless service in a geographic area. According to the semi-annual survey, there were 28,641 cell sites added this year for a total of 285,561 nationwide. While more cell sites are important to expanding reach and improving coverage for wireless users, spectrum is the true answer to meet demand. Wireless providers continued their substantial commitment to improve mobile services for their customers, investing more than $25 million in capital expenditures in the last 12 months to do everything from add more towers to upgrade their networks from 3G to 4G. Since 2002, wireless providers have invested more than $230 billion in capital expenditures, a figure which doesn't include the billions spent to acquire spectrum from the U.S. government. 

"As our survey proves, today's wireless industry offers consumers not only the world's best products and services, but also the best value. Americans are using more voice, data and text than ever before, but are paying less for their wireless usage than even a year ago. Thanks to the fiercely competitive wireless industry, consumers have a variety of choices from which provider to contract or prepaid plans to devices," said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA. "With the persistent increase in usage, this survey is another proof point for why our members need more spectrum to meet consumer demands. We appreciate the FCC's NPRM on the incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum and hope that it's brought to market quickly so that our members may continue to innovate and invest in our nation's economy."      

For the June 30, 2012 installment of the semi-annual survey, CTIA aggregated data from companies serving 97 percent of all estimated wireless subscriber connections (excluding some machine-to-machine and other units not currently treated as subscriber connections for reporting purposes by some carriers). Several past periods have been restated to conform to the current reporting treatment.

To see a summary of the report or to purchase the full report from the CTIA Research eStore, please visit:

CTIA-The Wireless Association® ( is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government. The association also coordinates the industry's voluntary best practices and initiatives, and sponsors the industry's leading wireless tradeshows. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE CTIA-The Wireless Association