Wireless is one of the most competitive industries in America. CTIA supports policies that reflect the industry’s competitive dynamic.
A Competitive Industry
Wireless companies fight every day for every consumer’s business. Competition means wireless companies work relentlessly to improve their networks and launch innovative services. In the last several years, consumers have seen real benefits from competition, including:
- Lower prices
- Unlimited data and free data services
- New devices
- Faster speeds
- Free add-ons such as Netflix, HBO, or Tidal subscriptions
The Federal Communications Commission agrees that the wireless industry is competitive. The FCC has found that 99 percent of Americans have a choice of three or more 4G providers. That’s because there are nearly 100 mobile providers, resellers, and MVNOs nationwide, and consumers can choose from hundreds of devices, multiple operating systems, and millions of apps and services.
This competition continues as providers roll out 5G. The U.S. has among the world’s fastest 5G speeds, and is the largest country with three nationwide 5G networks. We’re also doing it much more quickly than ever before. The U.S. industry built more cell sites last year than in the three prior years combined, and the leading smartphone providers have all launched new signature 5G devices. Initial 5G networks also already cover over 270 million Americans.
Competition drives the industry to invest. Since 2010, wireless companies have invested over $286 billion to improve speeds, coverage, and quality. Those investments mean tangible benefits to consumers: for instance, average 4G download speeds are more than 31 times faster today than they were in 2010.
At the same time, Americans are paying less for wireless. The decline in wireless prices in 2017 was so significant that it drove the average price for core consumer goods down across the economy for the first time since 2010. And between mid-2017 and year-end 2020 prices fell further, by ~10%.
When wireless providers compete, consumers win. Intense competition in the wireless market is more effective in driving consumer-friendly innovations than quickly outdated regulations.
Policymakers can help the wireless industry stay competitive by refraining from imposing intrusive government mandates. This is key to ensuring the U.S. remains the global leader in wireless and continues to expand to serve rural and remote parts of the country.
Today, countries around the world are racing to deploy next-generation 5G wireless technology. The competitive dynamic of America’s wireless industry will help us win the global race to 5G and enable us to lead in the Internet of Things, driverless cars, smart cities, drone commerce, and more.