Mobile applications and wireless technologies are no longer just a nicety for small businesses, according to a new report from AT&T: They're a necessity.

Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of small businesses said they use mobile apps in their business, with roughly four in ten (38 percent) reporting that they could not survive — or would face major challenges to survival — without mobile apps , according to the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll.

The national survey of business with two to 50 employees also showed how mobile the world is for small businesses. Ninety-six percent of them use wireless technologies.

The driving forces behind this widespread adoption, researchers said, are time savings, increased productivity and reduction of costs.

Increasingly, the survey showed, small businesses are using wireless technologies to help keep employees connected with the business 24/7, even when they’re not in the office.

Four in ten (40 percent) of small businesses reported that all of their employees use wireless devices or wireless technologies to work away from the office. This is up from 24 percent in 20078 and is expected to grow to 50 percent by 2012.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.