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Industry Survey Finds Major Jump in Wireless Data Use Industry Survey Finds Major Jump in Wireless Data Use

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Tech / FCC

Industry Survey Finds Major Jump in Wireless Data Use

On the first day that the popular iPhone was available at Verizon Wireless stores, an iPhone is displayed in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an iPhone on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

October 11, 2012

Americans can't seem to get enough of mobile data services, whether it be checking their Facebook status on their smart phone or texting their friend. A new survey released Thursday by the wireless industry group CTIA found that wireless mobile data use more than doubled in the last year, increasing by 104 percent between July 2011 and June 2012.

In the group's semi-annual survey, CTIA also found that many U.S. users are buying smart phones to access that data. Smartphone adoption grew by 37 percent in the last year, bringing the number of smart phones to 131 million. The group's survey shows that cell phones have become ubiquitous, reaching 321 million wireless subscriber connections, an increase of 5 percent from last year.

CTIA noted that despite the increased use of data, average monthly plans went down in the last year -- though not by much. The group said the average monthly wireless subscriber's bill fell by 7 cents to $47.16, according to the survey released at the annual MobileCON conference.

To meet the growing demand, CTIA said wireless providers continued to build more cell towers but added that more spectrum is needed. The Federal Communications Commission took a step late last month in addressing this need by launching its "incentive auction" process aimed at enticing broadcasters to voluntarily give up some of their spectrum for use by wireless providers.

"With the persistent increase in usage, this survey is another proof point for why our members need more spectrum to meet consumer demands," CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement. "We appreciate the FCC's NPRM on the incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum and hope that its brought to market quickly so that our members may continue to innovate and invest in our nation's economy."

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