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What to expect from wireless technology in 2016

December 29, 2015

Dec. 29, 2015

For more information, contact:
Natalie Bailey, Moxley Carmichael


It seems that every day a new technology is introduced or there is something new our wireless devices can do for us. In 2016, the plethora of devices that go beyond smartphones and tablets will change the way business is conducted and simplify everyday tasks.

Jay Ellison, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular, sees 2016 as the year Tennessee residents see the benefits of the significant advancements in technology that have occurred over the past few years.

“As we continue to rely on wireless technology more and more for business, entertainment, health monitoring and communications, the devices and how we use them will continue to evolve,” Ellison said. “With strong networks and creative ways to use them, there is technology on the horizon that can connect us in ways never before possible, and I have never been more excited about where these innovations can take us.”

As we flip the calendars to a new year, Ellison anticipates three trends in the wireless industry that you may be hearing a lot more about in 2016.

1. Internet of Things Goes Mainstream

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already changing the way businesses view assets, manage their systems, and handle transactions, and in 2016 it will introduce new possibilities and opportunities for both businesses and consumers. The global market for IoT devices is expected to reach $6.6 billion by the end of 2015 and nearly $49.2 billion by 2020, according to BCC Research.

The benefits of IoT for businesses are tangible and fast to recognize. Having a sensor on inventory that sends an alert to a smartphone if it is moved or being able to remotely monitor a crop to determine if it needs watering provide immediate time and cost savings. These examples just scratch the surface of what IoT can do.

“Almost any physical item or asset can be connected to the Internet of Things,” said Ellison. “At U.S. Cellular, we mainly see the technology used with businesses, but it can be leveraged in everyday life as well. From smart homes to connected cars, the consumer face of IoT is beginning to emerge.”

2. Wearable Devices Take Off

With the introduction of the Apple Watch this past year, the popularity and sales of wearable devices went to another level. Sales of wearable technology worldwide increased nearly 200 percent in the last three months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

There is a wide range of choices in wearable technology functionality, ranging from the basic fitness tracking to a smartphone-like experience. In 2016, more businesses will take to the technology, especially those in primarily mobile industries and government agencies.

“While they have yet to become an essential device, we can safely assume that smartwatches are here to stay in 2016 and for many years to come,” said Ellison. “As we add the Apple Watch to our portfolio along with current wearable devices from Samsung, Moto, Fitbit, Garmin and others, customers will be able to customize their choice to their exact need.”

3. Wallets Stay at Home

When Apple, Google, Samsung, Starbucks and Walmart all launched similar products the same year, it must be important. That is what happened in 2015, when those companies began making mobile payment options available to their customers.

In 2016, expect to see more people checking out at retail stores using only their smartphones, along with more retailers adapting to the technology. These mobile payment apps securely store payment information and utilize near-field communication, or NFC, to offer wireless payment through a merchant’s payment terminal. For users, that means faster and easier payments and all transactions organized in one place.

“I expect mobile payments to someday be the norm,” said Ellison. “With the technology coming to more retail outlets and a reliable network that covers you nationally, you can have a hassle-free shopping experience with your smartphone in no time.”

About U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by a high-quality network in big and small cities and rural communities, and currently, 99 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Champion in 2014 for the third time in four years. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on, and