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Dramatic performance improvements in mobile communications standards have propelled mobile to become the fastest adopted technology of all time. User costs have plummeted. The average mobile subscriber cost per megabyte decreased 99 percent between 2005 and 2013. Smartphones are now available for as little as $40. Mobile network infrastructure costs have also fallen dramatically, while performance has soared—a 95 percent cost reduction (per megabyte transmitted) from second generation (2G) networks to third generation (3G) networks, and a further 67 percent drop from 3G to fourth generation (4G) networks.
Mobile data-transmission speeds have skyrocketed: 4G networks offer 12,000 times faster data-transmission speeds than 2G networks. Consumer adoption of 3G and 4G standards has outpaced that of all other technologies, growing to nearly 3 billion connections in less than 15 years, and projected to exceed 8 billion connections by 2020. Effective industry-driven collaborations to solve technical problems, set standards, and license intellectual property have been key enablers in this revolution.
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