Wireless communications technology is effectively ubiquitous among U.S. small businesses, according to the results of the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll. Surveying 1,000 small businesses around the country, AT&T researchers found that 98% use some form of wireless technology.

More than half (56%) the smartphones used by small business employees are 4G, AT&T found, a jump of 70% from last year’s 33%. Nine in ten of U.S. small businesses using 4G smartphones are satisfied with the speed of their connections.

Two-thirds (66%) of small business respondents indicated they could not survive without wireless technologies or said it would be a major challenge to do so.

AT&T researchers concluded that while penetration of specific wireless technologies varies widely, small businesses nationwide are open to adopting the latest devices and solutions, including tablets and mobile apps.

More than four in ten (41%) of U.S. small business respondents reported that all their employees use wireless devices or technologies while working away from the office.

Regarding mobile device usage among small businesses, AT&T also found:

  • More than two-thirds (69%) of small businesses surveyed indicate that they use tablet computers.
  • Results indicate that the larger the business, the more likely it is to use tablets, with 90% of those with 51 to 99 employees using them, compared to 69% of those with 50 or fewer employees.
  • Additionally, newer businesses are more likely to use tablets, with 80% that are less than 2 years old using them, compared to 69% of those two years and older.
  • 85% of small businesses reported using smartphones for their operations, more than double the usage five years ago (42%).

Turning to mobile apps, AT&T found that nearly one in three (31%) of survey respondents use them, the top three reasons being to save time, increase productivity, and reduce costs.

Additional highlights of the survey report include:

  • Slightly less than half (47%) of small businesses using mobile apps say they could not survive – or it would be a major challenge to survive – without them.
  • Of small businesses using mobile apps, GPS navigation and mapping are by far the most popular with 74% of business owners using them, followed by location-based services (43%); document management (35%); social media marketing (32%); and mobile payments in the field (30%).