A recent report by industry group GSMA found that North America leads the global mobile technology market.
According to the report, the region has more than 250 million unique subscribers, with three quarters of those on smartphones and more than half using 4G networks.
The mobile industry has made huge gains in recent years, with the GSMA finding a 70 percent penetration rate for the North American market. Mobile data traffic is predicted to increase at 42 percent CAGR to 11 GB per user per month in 2019, which Re/code reported is a significant jump from the average data usage in 2014 of just 1.9 gigabytes.
The North American mobile industry has a sizeable impact on economic health and job growth in the region. The mobile ecosystem created 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of North America in 2014, reported GSMA, which is equivalent to $670 billion. The industry directly supports 1.1 million jobs and indirectly generates an additional 1.1. million jobs.
“When you look at what the mobile operator does and look at the mobile industry and how it changes people’s lives, how it contributes [to] the GDP, its socially conscious programs, support for business opportunities, etc., I truly think there is a story here looking at the mobile economy in North America as a way to deliver economic growth and society benefit,” Reed Peterson, Global Head of Strategic Engagement for North America at GSMA, told Wireless Week.
The North American mobile industry is also a leader in mobile innovation. In addition to increasing the adoption of 4G networks and advanced operating systems, the region leads the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). According to GSMA Intelligence, there were 52 million cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) connections in the third quarter of 2015 in North America, which accounts for 12.8 percent of all connections in North America and surpasses the global average of 3.9 percent.
The IoT is predicted to undergo massive growth in the coming years, and mobile technologies play a vital role in enabling the industry to grow. According to a report by Accenture, countries that adopt Industrial IoT technologies could collectively contribute $10.6 trillion to their economies over the next 15 years.
The GSMA report found that there is nearly complete regional 4G coverage by the leading mobile operators, with 98 percent coverage in the U.S. and 92 percent coverage in Canada. As the wireless market nears full saturation, the Big Four operators – Verizon, AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile – are focusing on improving and diversifying mobile content and monetizing data usage, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
With a growing subscriber base, increasing prevalence of advanced 4G networks and focus on innovation, North America is bringing the mobile industry into the future.