As I previously mentioned, CTIA has released the latest edition of the CTIA Wireless Industry Indices report — an in-depth analysis of the semi-annual data survey conducted by CTIA since January 1985, updated through year-end 2010.
With more than 117 tables and 72 charts, the 390-page CTIA Wireless Industry Indices report provides a comprehensive review of the survey results over time, and a detailed series of benchmarks for industry performance and productivity.
In my last blog post, I explained how the wireless industry spent more than $71 billion in capital expenditures in 2008-2010. Today's focus is on the dramatic growth in wireless data traffic.
Over the past year, there’s been a lot of buzz about the growth in wireless data traffic, but it’s not just hype. As new devices and new applications have been introduced, wireless data usage has spiked.
CTIA’s Semi-Annual Survey doesn’t do projections. Instead, it measures reality. What we found is confirmation about the buzz.
Between year-end 2009 and year-end 2010, wireless data traffic in the U.S. more than doubled, growing from 107.8 billion MB in the last half of 2009 to more 226.5 billion MB in the last half of 2010.
To help you visualize how much that really is, think about it this way: The Library of Congress has more than 22 million books in its catalog. If each book is equal to one MB, then wireless service providers are delivering two times the Library of Congress’ book catalog for wireless consumers every hour of every day of the year.
The “hockey stick” of wireless growth isn’t in minutes of use anymore. It isn’t in wireless subscribers either. Minutes of use still amount to more than 2 trillion a year here in the U.S. So do text messages. Instead, the hockey stick is in the use of new applications. Wireless data traffic has surged to more than 388 billion MB a year.
And that’s just the beginning. Last year, the FCC pointed out that Cisco Systems, The Yankee Group and Coda Research projected (on average) that data traffic in 2014 would be 35 times the volume of traffic in 2009. Since then, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) has projected that wireless data traffic in North America will grow 20 times from 2010 to 2015, on top of the already extraordinary growth we’ve experienced. Combining Cisco’s projections for the last two years, wireless data traffic in 2015 is expected to be 56 times the volume of traffic in 2009.
That’s why we need to plan for that future today, by thinking about the spectrum we’ll need to deliver these volumes tomorrow.