Wireless Industry: Continues to be #1 for Innovation, Competition and Investment

In advance of the FCC releasing the 2008 Mobile Wireless Competition Report , we thought we’d provide some updated information on the state of the U.S. wireless industry. The PPT document , albeit long, is full of stats and facts. But for folks who want a quick review, here’s a one page document with the highlights .

Quite simply, the U.S. wireless industry is the most innovative and competitive. We also invest more in infrastructure than most countries. In fact, we invested more money ($20.4 billion) in 2009 than the 5 largest European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK) combined ($17.9 billion). 

When you think about innovation, remember this – the first “app” store was launched in July 2008. Fast forward to today and there are now more than 240,000 apps from 7 different stores on 7 different platforms. And consumers love these apps – downloads are expected to increase 145% to 5.9 billion from only 2.4 billion in 2009.  In 2010, consumers are epxected to spend $6.2 billion in mobile app stores to download over 8 billion apps – 8 out of 10 of them will be free.

Let’s keep talking about innovation, but look at the device market. There are more than 257 million data-capable devices in consumers’ hands today and more than 50 million of them are smarphones or wireless-enabled PDAs. While the UK has only 147 handsets, American consumers have more than 630 choices that are manufacturered for the U.S. market. Plus, there are more than 32 companies that manufacture these U.S. devices.

Moving to competition, there is no question that the U.S. is the world leader in wireless. Approximately 65% of Americans have a choice of 5 or more facilities-based providers, not including resellers. In the largest U.S. cities, there are more than 14 facilities-based and non-facilities based providers. In the smallest U.S. cities, 8 out of 10 have more than 14 facilities-based and non-facilities based providers.

Of the top 26 OECD countries, only U.S. and Canada have more than 5 providers. Under proposed revised Horizontal Merger guidelines by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. is the only wireless market among the 26 OECD countries not classified as highly concentrated.

At the end of 2009, the average revenue per minute in the U.S. was $0.04. Across Europe’s developed countries, the average revenue per minute was $0.16. As a result, the average wireless consumer in Europe used just 160 minutes a month compared to over 824 minutes a month for the U.S.

Let’s look at speed. 3G technology has been deployed to more than 92% of the U.S. population. Despite having 6% of global wireless subscribers, the U.S. is home to more than 21% of global 3G subscribers. The U.S. has 123.2 million 3G unique subscribers, more than the 5 largest EU countries combined (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK).

I encourage you to take a look at the facts and stats on the wireless industry that are in the PowerPoint  and the one page overview 

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