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CTIA: U.S. wireless data traffic surged 104% over the past year

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Wireless data traffic in the United States spiked 104 percent over the past year, according to the results of a semi-annual survey conducted by the CTIA.

Click here for details on CTIA's survey.

In April, CTIA's survey showed that wireless data traffic grew by 123 percent in one year, registering 866.7 billion MB at the end of December 2011 vs. 388 billion MB a year earlier.

The surge in traffic from 2011 into 2012 is not that surprising considering that the number of smartphones and tablets among Americans continues to grow, according to the trade association's figures. The survey found that of June 2012, smartphones made up 130.8 million, or 41 percent, of the almost 322 million wireless subscriber connections in the country, while the number of cellular-enabled tablets, laptops and modems increased to 21.6 million, or 17 percent of all wireless connections.

Both figures from June 2012 showed jumps from previous readings of the market. In April 2012, CTIA registered 111.5 million smartphones and in October 2011 it recorded 95.8 million. In April 2012 CTIA counted 20.2 million cellular-enabled tablets, laptops and modems and in October 2011 it reported 15.2 million.

CTIA said figures indicate wireless carriers need more spectrum. The trade association has been relentless during the past several years in calling for more cleared airwaves for operators. The group won a major victory when President Obama signed a law this February that authorized the FCC to conduct incentive auctions of broadcast TV spectrum for mobile broadband. The FCC just began the process of defining the rules for the auctions, which are not scheduled to take place until 2014.

For more:
- see this release

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Article updated Oct. 12 to reflect that CTIA's semi-annual survey released October 2011 covered only the six months from January 2011 to June 2011, and thus cannot be directly compared to the survey released in October 2012, which covered the period of July 2011 to June 2012.