Gigaom

AT&T(s T) is now claiming on its Innovation Space blog that its mobile data traffic is doubling every year, rather than increasing by the more modest 40 percent annual rate it detailed in recent investor and analyst calls. The distinction is important because the faster AT&T’s HSPA and LTE networks become overloaded, the more pressure it faces to use its reserve spectrum and find new sources of airwaves.

AT&T Senior EVP of technology and network operations John Donovan wrote:

But when the year-end numbers show a doubling of wireless data traffic from 2010 to 2011 – and you’ve seen at least a doubling every year since 2007 – the implications are profound.

Over the past five years, AT&T’s wireless data traffic has grown 20,000%.

The growth is now driven primarily by smartphones.  Add to that new customer additions and the continuing trend of upgrades from feature phones to smartphones, and…

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