An American Success Story
A Series of Firsts
A Uniquely Competitive Industry
How Wireless Works
An Economic Driver
A Great Consumer Experience
Fueling American Innovation
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 cellphone, 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.
The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, the first commercial handheld mobile phone, which offered 30 minutes of talk-time, approved by FCC.
The first smartphone, named the Simon Personal Communicator, was designed by IBM. It could send and receive emails, faxes, and pages.
The first 4G LTE networks were broadly deployed in the U.S.
A Great Consumer Experience.
Americans enjoy the best wireless experience in the world.
High-speed mobile broadband is available to nearly all consumers in the country, and those speeds keep going up. Mobile download speeds have increased 90 percent 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
And we’re doing more on those networks. Wireless is increasingly the preferred way to access the internet. In 2018, wireless traffic totaled 28.58 trillion megabytes — the equivalent of 250 million people playing Fortnite for 1,906 hours.1
Wireless data use will continue to grow. Americans are projected to use five times more mobile data by 20222 and by 2025 people will interact with connected devices every 18 seconds.3 It is indispensable to our everyday lives.
view wireless as a must have in their community – more than good schools at 65%.
would rather give up chocolate than give up their cell phone.
can’t live without their smartphone.
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?
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 over 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.
Computer Systems Design
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 $343 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 $116 billion in revenue from wireless companies participating in FCC spectrum auctions.8
And we’re not stopping here. The industry is investing an estimated $275 billion to roll out next-generation 5G wireless networks, creating 3 million jobs and $500 billion in economic growth, according to Accenture.9
Wireless Related Jobs
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
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
Cost per MB Declined Since 2007
Wireless Price Index Declined Since 2016
4G Download Speed Increased Since 2014
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 1980s, the wireless industry made it possible to make phone calls on the go. In the 1990s, we created text messaging. At the turn of the century, we introduced mobile gaming, as well as streaming audio and video. And with 4G, we've put true mobile broadband in the palm of your hand.
But we aren’t stopping there.
economic benefits generated by 5G
benefits and savings from 5G-enabled smart city technologies
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:
- CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, July 2019
- Cisco VNI Forecast Highlights Tool, Mobile Highlights, https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights.html
- Seagate, https://www.seagate.com/about-seagate/news/seagate-advises-global-business-leaders-and-entrepreneurs-pr-master/
- Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
- Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
- BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (2017 average)
- CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, 2019
- FCC FY2019 Budget Estimates to Congress, Feb. 2018
- Accenture, How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities, Feb. 2017
- 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/