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Unedited press release follows:
U.S. Wireless Subscriber Connections Surpassed U.S. Population for First Time
Wireless Network Data Traffic Increased 111 percent and Highlights Industry Need for More Spectrum
October 11, 2011 – SAN DIEGO, CA – For the first time in history, the semi-annual survey conducted by CTIA-The Wireless Association® shows the number of wireless subscriber connections (327.6 million) has surpassed the population (315.5 million) in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands), which means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. is 103.9 percent. The survey, released today at CTIA ENTERPRISE & APPLICATIONS™ 2011, tracks U.S. wireless trends including subscribership, usage, revenue and investment from January 2011 to June 2011. The survey also showed a 111 percent increase in wireless data traffic. The tremendous increase in data usage, wireless subscriber connections and other metrics from the survey underscore the industry’s need to purchase more spectrum from the federal government to meet the significant demands by consumers and businesses so Americans continue to lead the world with the best wireless products and services.
The January 2011-June 2011 wireless survey results are:
• Wireless subscriber connections: 327.6 million; mid-year 2010: 300.5 million (9 percent increase).
• Wireless network data traffic: 341.2 billion megabytes; mid-year 2010: 161.5 billion megabytes (111 percent increase).
• Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice and data service): $47.23; mid-year 2010: $47.47 (less than 1 percent decrease).
• Number of active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 95.8 million; mid-year 2010: 61.2 million (57 percent increase).
• Number of active data-capable devices: 278.3 million; mid-year 2010: 264.5 million (5 percent increase).
• Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 15.2 million; mid-year 2010: 12.9 million (17 percent increase).
• Minutes of Use (MOU): 1.148 trillion; mid-year 2010: 1.138 trillion (1 percent increase)
• SMS sent and received: 1.138 trillion; mid-year 2010: 982.9 billion (16 percent increase).
• MMS sent and received: 28.2 billion; mid-year 2010: 32.1 billion.
In order to try to meet the demand for wireless devices and services by consumers and businesses, CTIA’s provider members continued their investments in their networks and infrastructure to improve their customers’ coverage and speeds. From June 2010-June 2011, the annual capital investment increased by 28 percent to $27.5 billion. Since 2001, wireless companies have reported a cumulative total investment of $223 billion. These figures do not include the billions our carrier members paid to the U.S. government for spectrum.
“CTIA’s semi-annual survey proves that Americans love wireless and continue to rely on the most cutting-edge and innovative devices and services in the world. Clearly, we’re using wireless more every day, and the consensus of experts is that demand will continue to skyrocket by more than 50 times within the next five years. These are the reasons why our members need more spectrum,” said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA. “By making underutilized or unused spectrum available for auction, carriers will continue to invest billions of dollars in their infrastructure, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in benefit to our economy and create up to a half a million new jobs while ensuring the U.S. maintains its position as the world’s wireless leader.”
Wireless annual service revenue was $164.6 billion in the 12 months ending June 2011, up 6 percent from the same period in 2010.
To see a summary of the report or to purchase the full report from the CTIA Research eStore, please visit: http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/AID/10316.
CTIA-The Wireless Association® (www.ctia.org) is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices and initiatives, and sponsors the industry’s leading wireless tradeshows. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.