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Mobile Data Use Soared in 2013

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mobile data usage grew by mega-leaps this year. The latest numbers show nearly a doubling of uploads and downloads.

According to wireless industry analyst Chetan Sharma, a wider acceptance of 4G data capabilities, including the spread of high-speed LTE networks, has boosted global averages. LTE networks handle data 10 times faster than older 3G services.

In the United States usage numbers have leaped to 1.2 GB on average, per month up from 690 MB in 2012. Globally, the average data use jumped from 140 MB to 240 MB.

The United States isn't even close to being the mobile data consumption leader. Swedish users are consuming more than seven GB of data each month. Here in the U.S. there are some Android phone owners who are averaging more than four GB per month.

CTIA, the mobile trade group in this country, has just announced a new site to help consumers determine which apps consumer the most mobile data. Based on tests, KnowMyApp.org is designed to estimate wireless data usage for popular Google Android and Apple iOS apps - and its effect on your monthly wireless data plan - before the software is actually downloaded.

The year-end industry report estimates two billion smartphones are in use globally.  

LTE is the fastest growing generation of cellular technology in history, Sharma said. The US leads with all major operators having substantial LTE deployments; other nations are catching up. The importance of Wi-fi also grew in 2013. Sixty to seventy percent of all mobile data traffic is now carried by wi-fi networks in most countries.


--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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