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An American Success Story

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A Series of Firsts

first mobile phone

A Uniquely Competitive Industry

price tags

How Wireless Works

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An Economic Driver

utility worker

A Great Consumer Experience

person using mobile device

Fueling American Innovation

innovative device

A Series of Firsts.

From networks and handsets to apps and operating systems, America’s wireless industry is defined by innovation, ingenuity and enterprise.

America invented the cell phone, the smartphone and the app industry—and today's 4G networks were deployed here first. We lead the world in wireless and that leadership brings significant benefits.

America’s competitive wireless industry drives our economy, powers innovation across industries, delivers the world’s very best mobile experience and helps creates safer communities. No industry is more central to our daily lives.

First Handheld Cellphone
1983First Handheld Cellphone

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, the first commercial handheld mobile phone, which offered 30 minutes of talk-time, approved by FCC.

First Smartphone
1992First Smartphone

The first smartphone, named the Simon Personal Communicator, was designed by IBM. It could send and receive emails, faxes, and pages.

First 4G Network
2010First 4G Network

The first 4G LTE networks were broadly deployed in the U.S.

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A Great Consumer Experience.

Americans enjoy the best wireless experience in the world.

Nearly the entire country is blanketed with high-speed mobile broadband and those speeds keep going up. Download speeds have increased 60% since 2014. Faster speeds mean better connections and more advanced apps.

mobile devices in America

of American adults own a cellphone

increase in download speeds since 2014

Graphic of smartphone with text: 35x more data since 2010

And we’re doing more on those networks. Wireless is increasingly the preferred way to access the Internet. In 2017, wireless traffic totaled 15.69 trillion megabytes - the equivalent of nearly 250 million people simultaneously binge-watching every episode of Game of Thrones in HD.1

Wireless data use will continue to grow. Americans are projected to use four times more mobile data by 20212 and by 2025 people will interact with connected devices every 18 seconds.3 It is indispensable to our everyday lives.

a school building

67%

view wireless as a must have in their community – more than good schools at 65%.

a chocolate bar

72%

would rather give up chocolate than give up their cell phone.

a person using a smartphone

89%

can’t live without their smartphone.

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How Wireless Works.

Companies across different industries work together to create the innovative wireless ecosystem.

Wireless providers deliver the signal that keeps you connected to family, friends, entertainment, jobs and a world of experiences and opportunities that make life better. Supporting this are network equipment manufacturers, handset companies, app developers and more. Learn more about how wireless works.

Share your life

Your wireless device can send video, voice, texts and email over thousands of miles in a fraction of a second. How does that process work?

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An Economic Driver.

An impact felt across every state and every sector.

Wireless fuels our economy, supporting 4.7 million jobs and contributing $475 billion each year.4

That accounts for 2.6 percent of America’s GDP, making the U.S. wireless industry the 24th largest economy in the world.

Every wireless job creates an additional 7.7 jobs throughout the broader economy, making the industry’s contribution bigger than full-service restaurants and hardware manufacturing.5 Wireless jobs also pay about fifty percent more than the average American job.6

The impact is felt broadly across the country. To see the impact on your state, explore our interactive map.

Value Add by Industry

The Wireless Industry contributes more to the economy than other major industries like agriculture and publishing.

Agriculture

carrot

Publishing

book

Computer Systems Design

notebook computer

Wireless Industry

mobile phone

We Invest in America.

Wireless companies make significant, long-term investments in America. In fact, wireless providers rank first and second in a list of companies making the largest annual domestic investment. Wireless providers have made more than $315 billion in capital investments since 2005. 7

in capital investments since 2005

In addition to capital expenditures, the industry has also spent billions of dollars on spectrum licenses. Since 1994, the U.S. government has raised over $100 billion in revenue from wireless companies participating in FCC spectrum auctions.8

And we’re not stopping here. The industry will invest another $275 billion in the coming years to launch next-generation 5G wireless networks, creating 3 million jobs and $500 billion in economic growth, according to Accenture.9

Wireless Related Jobs

utility workerperson using a computerperson using a tabletforeground cloudsbackground clouds
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A Uniquely Competitive Industry.

Every day, America's wireless companies are doing everything we can to win your business.

We work relentlessly to improve our networks with faster speeds and innovative services such as unlimited data plans. And we spend billions each year to convince people to switch from their current provider or stay with the one they’re already using.

of Americans have 3 or more choices in mobile providers

mobile phone on the leftmobile phone in the middlemobile phone on the right

That’s because consumers enjoy a variety of options. Nearly every American can choose between three or more providers and there are nearly 100 mobile providers nationwide. Consumers can pick from hundreds of handsets, multiple operating systems, millions of apps and services and nearly 700 different smartphone plans.

All this competition adds up to lower prices and greater value. In fact, wireless prices declined so significantly in 2017 that it drove the average price for core consumer goods down across the economy for the first time since 2010.10

stack of coins

Cost per MB Declined Since 2007

96.6%

overlapping price tags

Wireless Prices Declined Since 2016

12.9%

download icon

4G Download Speed Increased Since 2014

60%

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Fueling American Innovation.

For nearly forty years the wireless industry has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible – helping America become the most innovative and advanced country on earth.

In the eighties the wireless industry made it possible to make phone calls on the go. In the nineties we created text messaging and at the turn of the century we introduced mobile gaming, as well as streaming audio and video. And with the current generation of wireless we’ve put true mobile broadband in the palm of your hand.

But we aren’t stopping there.

in economic benefits when we win the race to 5G

benefits and savings from 5G-enabled smart city technologies

Next-generation 5G networks will be 100 times faster, connect 100 times more devices and be five times more responsive.

Connecting everyone and everything will unlock innovation across every part of our lives – powering breakthroughs in healthcare, energy and manufacturing.

Wireless industry innovation will enable truly smart cities and is critical to the emerging Internet of Things, connecting watches, clothing, drones, cars and more – creating new industries and new jobs, improving safety, reducing waste and enhancing our environment.

5G Networks will be:

100x

Faster

100x

Devices

5x

More responsive

self-driving carsmart watchvirtual reality gogglesdrone deliveryhome assistant devices
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  1. CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, July 2018
  2. Cisco VNI Forecast Highlights Tool, Mobile Highlights, https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights.html
  3. Seagate, https://www.seagate.com/about-seagate/news/seagate-advises-global-business-leaders-and-entrepreneurs-pr-master/
  4. Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
  5. Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
  6. BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (2016 average)
  7. CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, 2018
  8. FCC FY2019 Budget Estimates to Congress, Feb. 2018
  9. Accenture, How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities, Feb. 2017
  10. Ben Leubsdorf, How Cell-Phone Plans With Unlimited Data Limited Inflation, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2017, https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2017/05/19/how-cell-phone-plans-with-unlimited- data-limited-inflation/
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