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An American Success Story


A Series of Firsts

first mobile phone

A Uniquely Competitive Industry

price tags

How Wireless Works

radio waveform

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 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.

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.

First 5G Network
2019First 5G Network

The first 5G networks were 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 58x over the past decade. Faster speeds mean better connections and more advanced apps.

mobile devices in America

of American adults own a cellphone

increase in download speeds since 2010

Graphic of smartphone with text: x more data since 2010

And we’re doing more on those networks. Wireless is increasingly the preferred way to access the internet. In 2020, wireless traffic topped 42 trillion MBs–a 208% increase since 2016.1

Wireless data use will continue to grow. By 2025, people will interact with connected devices every 18 seconds.2 It is indispensable to our everyday lives.

a school building


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

a chocolate bar


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

a person using a smartphone


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.3

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.4 Wireless jobs also pay over fifty percent more than the average American job.5

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

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. Since 2016, wireless providers have invested nearly $140 billion, and over the life of the wireless industry, capital investment now totals over $601 billion. 6

in capital investments since 2016

In addition to capital expenditures, the industry has also spent billions of dollars on spectrum licenses. Since 1993, wireless providers have invested over $200 billion in FCC spectrum auctions to power mobile networks.7

And we’re not stopping here. The industry is investing an estimated $275 billion to roll out next-generation 5G wireless networks, according to Accenture8, creating 4.5 million jobs and $1.5 trillion in economic growth, per Boston Consulting Group.9

5G-related Jobs

utility workerperson using a computerperson using a tabletforeground cloudsbackground clouds

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, resellers, and MVNOs 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


overlapping price tags

Wireless Price Index declined between 2015 and 2020



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 from the 5G Economy

jobs created by the 5G Economy

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:






More responsive

self-driving carsmart watchvirtual reality gogglesdrone deliveryhome assistant devices
  1. CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, August 2020
  2. Seagate,
  3. Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
  4. Accenture, How the Wireless Industry Powers the U.S. Economy, 2018
  5. BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (2017 average)
  6. CTIA Annual Wireless Survey, August 2020
  7. FCC FY2019 Budget Estimates to Congress, Feb. 2018
  8. Accenture, How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities, Feb. 2017
  9. Boston Consulting Group, 5G Promises Massive Job and GDP Growth in the US, February 2021
  10. Ben Leubsdorf, How Cell-Phone Plans With Unlimited Data Limited Inflation, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2017, data-limited-inflation/