Small businesses depend on wireless technology in a big way. In an AT&T 2012 Small Business Technology Poll, nearly two thirds of respondents (63 percent) indicated they could not survive or it would be a major challenge to without using wireless technology. Nearly all — 96 percent — indicated they use wireless technology in their operations.

The latest figures show little has changed over the past year. In AT&T’s 2011 Small Business Tech poll, 96 percent of respondents indicated they used wireless technology in their operations and 64 percent expressed the importance of it to their survival. Compare these figures to four years earlier when only 42 percent of respondents said they could not survive or would have difficulty surviving without wireless.

More than four in 10  (43 percent) of the small businesses surveyed report that all of their employees use wireless technologies to work away from the office, representing a nearly 80 percent increase over three years. To this end, small businesses also are increasingly embracing tablet computers. Two thirds (67 percent) of small business now use tablet computers, up from 57 percent a year ago. When it comes to smartphones, 85 percent use them for their operations, up from 80 percent last year and more than double the usage of five years ago at 42 percent.

(Note: these figures are consistent with our Plantronics Spiceworks UC Survey, which indicated that 88 percent of the small and medium businesses we surveyed use smartphones and 60 percent use tablets).

The online survey also specifically looked at 12 U.S. markets and small business use of wireless technology, mobile apps and percentage of employees using wireless away from the office. Dallas, Washington, DC, and Atlanta topped the list.

The online survey, conducted last November, included 2513 small business owners and/or employees responsible for IT.  The participating businesses had between 2 and 99 employees.

See the survey summary