Thursday, February 26, 2009

U.S. Regulator Publishes Wireless Industry Competition Report
see also FCC 13th annual competition report

The 13th Annual Competition Report on the wireless industry has been released by the FCC, providing a wealth of data and analysis for the period up to the end of 2007.

Significance - The FCC has released a wealth of data and analysis on the state of the wireless industry in the United States.

Implications - The industry continues to grow apace with penetration hitting 86%. Consolidation has had limited effect on local competition levels, although this will likely develop in 2008 as several deals have been finalised.

Outlook - The latest data from the carriers shows that growth has slowed while significant changes to the market. such as consolidation and the roll-out of unlimited use tariffs, will have further shaken up the industry in 2008.

The U.S. regulator, the FCC, has released the 13th Annual Competition Report on the wireless industry, providing both an overview and details of the nature of the industry in the United States, including spectrum use, standards, coverage, quality and competition levels, capital expenditures, pricing, subscribership, use, services, convergence and intermodal substation effects.

Coverage and Subscribership

Some 99.6% of the U.S. population lives in a census block, of which there are just over 8.26 million (containing 285 million people, although this is based on the year 2000 census), with at least one wireless provider. One or more providers cover 74.5% of the total land mass of the United States when federal lands are included—or 84% when these lands are excluded from the calculations. Some 95.5% of the population and 40.8% of the land mass is covered by three or more providers. Broadband networks (CDMA EV-DO and UMTS/HSPA) were available in at least part of the census blocks that were home to 92% of the population—EV-DO networks covered 92.2% of the population while the WCDMA/ HSPA network deployment (by AT&T) covered only 53.8%.

Total subscribers numbered 263 million at the end of 2007, up 21.2 million or 8.8% year-on-year (y/y) and taking penetration to around 86.1% of the total U.S. population of 305.6 million at the end of 2007. The top eight facilities-based carriers accounted for 92.8% of the market. The resale sector, which included 40 MVNOs, accounted for 18.4 million or 7% of subscribers, although these are included in the figures below under their home carrier.

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