Data consumption in the US nearly doubled in 2018, increasing from 15.7 trillion MB to more than 28.5 trillion MB, research by industry group CTIA found.

On average, each smartphone user in the country consumed 6.6GB of data per month, up from 5GB in 2017.

In a report, CTIA noted the jump in data consumption was also driven by a proliferation of data-only devices including connected cars, smartwatches and health monitors. It found the total number of these devices grew 10 per cent year-on-year to 139.4 million.

Time spent on voice calls also increased 9.6 per cent to 2.4 trillion minutes, while SMS numbers rose 15.8 per cent to 2 trillion.

CTIA CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement the research “underscores the need to continue to free up spectrum to keep up with demand, and provide the much needed capacity for next-generation 5G networks”.

Work to expand mobile infrastructure is already underway: CTIA found the number of sites in operation grew 8 per cent year-on-year to 349,344, which it noted is the largest annual increase since 2011, when operators were beginning 4G deployments.