America's insatiable wireless appetite

In many ways, the release of the first iPhone 10 years ago launched the smartphone era. Since then, mobile data consumption has skyrocketed and, in the process, helped turn wireless companies into digital media conglomerates.

By the numbers:

  • Mobile data traffic has experienced a nine-fold increase since 2012 in North America, and it has the highest smartphone and 4G network adoption rates of any region worldwide, according to GSMA.
  • In 2016, there were 291 million unique wireless subscribers in North America, representing 80% of the region's population.
  • There are now more mobile subscriptions in the U.S. than people.
Data: CTIA,GSMA Intelligence, The Mobile Economy: North America 2017; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios