How much do you know about the wireless industry's tremendously important impact in our lives, whether it's through the economy, innovation, competition, environmental and other societal benefits?
We've assembled numerous facts from a variety of sources in our Resource Library
, but here are some quick facts that provide an overview of the importance of the U.S. wireless industry:
The economic impact of bringing 500 MHz of spectrum
(per the FCC's National Broadband Plan) to market by 2020 is $87 billion increase in U.S. GDP; at least 350,000 new U.S. jobs; additional $23.4 billion in government revenues; and $13.1 billion increase in wireless applications and content sales.
- U.S. providers invested $94 per subscriber while the rest of the world spent $16.
- For every $1 invested in wireless broadband, it will create an additional $7-10 for U.S. GDP.
The U.S. wireless industry is valued at $195.5 billion
, which is larger than publishing, agriculture, hotels and lodging, air transportation, motion picture and recording and motor vehicle manufacturing industry segments. It rivals the computer system design service and oil and gas extraction industries.
The wireless industry directly/indirectly employs
more than 3.8 million Americans, which accounts for 2.6% of all U.S. employment. In addition, wireless employees are paid 65% higher than the national average for other workers.
The app economy
employs 519,000 developers and related jobs and grew into a $10 billion industry.
- Thanks to the U.S. wireless companies constant innovation and competition to remain the world's mobile industry leader, America's users benefit.
Year-End U.S. Figures from CTIA's Annual Survey Report
Unless otherwise noted, facts are from CTIA-The Wireless Association,
CTIA's Wireless Industry Summary Report, Year-End 2012 Results, 2013
| Dec. '12 || Dec. '11 |
|Dec. '07 |
| Dec. '02 |
|Dec. '97 |
|Wireless Subscriber Connections |
# of active devices, including smartphones, feature phones, tablets, etc. Since users may have more than one wireless device, it is not equal to individual subscribers.
|326.4M ||316M |
|255.4M ||140.8M |
|Wireless Penetration |
Equals # of active units divided by the total U.S. and territorial population (Puerto Rico, Guam
and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
|102.2% ||99.7% |
|Wireless-Only Households1 |
% of U.S. households
|38.2% ||34% |
|Annual Wireless Data Usage (in MB) |
|1.468T ||866.7B MB |
| N/A ||N/A |
|Monthly Wireless Data Usage (in MB) |
| 139.1B || 87.6B || N/A || N/A || N/A |
|Annual Voice Minutes of Use |
|2.3T ||2.296T |
|Monthly Voice Minutes of Use |
|Annual Text Messages |
|2.19T ||2.3T |
|Monthly Text Messages |
|Annual Wireless Revenue ||$185B ||$169.8B ||$138.9B ||$76.5B ||$27.4B |
|Cell Sites ||301,779 ||283,385 ||213,299 ||139,338 ||51,600 |
|911 Calls2 |
|>400K ||>396K ||260K ||139K ||55K |
CTIA Annual Wireless Industry Survey
CTIA's annual wireless industry survey develops industry-wide information drawn from operational member and non-member wireless service providers. It has been conducted since January 1985, originally as a cellular-only survey instrument, and now including PCS, ESMR, AWS and 700 MHz license holders. No break-out of results specific to spectrum bands or licenses is performed. Previously a semi-annual survey, it is released annually.
The information solicited from the service providers includes: direct employment, number of cell sites, total service revenues, capital investment and other metrics.
The CTIA survey also develops information on the number of reported wireless subscriber units or "connections" for the responding systems, and an estimated total wireless connections figure (taking into account non-responding systems).
To preview the report look at the Annual Year-End 2012 Top-Line Survey Results
If you would like to purchase the report
, it is available at a member or non-member price. Annual subscriptions are also available. Methodology
The Annual Wireless Industry Survey is completely voluntary and thus does not yield a 100 percent response rate from all service providers. However, the survey has an excellent response rate. For the December 31, 2012, installment of the semi-annual survey, CTIA aggregated data from companies serving 97 percent of all estimated wireless subscriber connections.
Because not all systems do respond, CTIA develops an estimate of total wireless connections. The estimate is developed by determining the identity and character of non-responding markets (e.g., RSA/MSA or equivalent-market designation, age of system, market population), and using surrogate penetration and growth rates applicable to similar, known systems to derive probable subscribership. These numbers are then summed with the reported subscriber connection numbers to reach the total estimated figures.
No carrier-specific or market-specific information is maintained as a result of the survey. All such information is aggregated by an independent accounting firm to a nationwide level. The underlying source material for the survey is then destroyed per confidentiality agreements.
Last Updated: November 2013