Smartphone growth in the US has more or less reached a point of saturation yet wireless carriers continue to see a steady stream of new account activations. As Chetan Sharma Consulting highlights, there's a perfectly good reason for this.

The industry consultant found that in the first quarter of 2016, 32 percent of new accounts were connected cars. Incredibly enough, these smart autos outpaced new smartphone connections which represented just 31 percent of the pie. AT&T led the pack as it relates to new connected car additions, outpacing all other competitors combined.

The firm also found that 23 percent of new accounts were opened for tablets, far more than I would have guessed. The remaining 14 percent was captured by machine-to-machine devices, more commonly referred to as Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

It's important to clarify the fact that this report is looking only at new accounts, not devices sold. I'd venture a guess that more smartphones were sold than all other categories combined but the overwhelming majority of those devices were added to existing accounts and thus, weren't included in this specific report.

Looking at the market at a whole, Chetan Sharma's findings largely reflect what we already know. Mobile data revenues, for example, shot up 17 percent year-over-year, now contributing 73 percent of overall service revenues. The report also highlights the fact that consumers are upgrading their mobile devices at a slower pace than before, largely because new device launches haven't really been all that innovative.

Lead image courtesy HPE Matter