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Mobile data pricing in the United States has dropped sharply this year, despite a sharp uptick in the amount of data wireless customers are using.

According to Chetan Sharma Consulting’s second quarter U.S. Mobile Market overview, mobile data prices have plunged 60 percent so far this year. Though stateside mobile data revenues dropped for the first time in the first quarter, carriers rebounded in the second quarter as U.S. mobile data revenues climbed past the 80 percent mark for the first time. The firm notes that the United States is the second country behind Japan to hit that mark.

Those mixed figures come as demand for mobile data continues to increase at a rapid pace as smartphone penetration climbs past 90 percent.

The firm reports the United States is currently third – behind only Finland and Korea – in terms of subscriber usage per month, but is on track to take the number two seat by the end of this year. That’s because consumption is climbing at a startling rate. The report indicates that while it took 210 months (about 17.5 years) for the average usage in the country to hit 1 GB per month, the most recent 1 GB gain took just four months. The United States’ average data usage could well surpass the 6 GB per month mark by the end of this year, the firm adds.

“Unlimited seems have to caught some operators by surprise and unprepared when it was almost a given that this will happen. Absent any market transaction, the pressure to deliver unlimited will remain,” the report reads. “Overall, U.S. is number one in total Zettabytes consumed on mobile networks ahead of second placed China by a distance.”

IoT

Chetan Sharma Consulting also observed the growing role of the Internet of Things (IoT) in carrier businesses.

In the second quarter, the firm reported IoT and connected cars dominated new additions to the wireless ecosystem, accounting for 71 percent of net additions in the quarter. AT&T capitalized on this as the top operator in this domain by a wide margin, the firm noted. But Verizon is also making itself known as an up and coming IoT player.

“Verizon continued its steady march on the IoT/Telematics front,” the report reads. “In 2018, it will become the third global operator to pass the $1 billion mark in the segment.”

Chetan Sharma Consulting’s full second quarter report can be downloaded here.

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