Wireless Competition: What’s the Data Say?

Published May 11, 2013

The CTIA just released its semi-annual statistics on the wireless industry’s performance, and its bad news for all those supposed data-driven, pro-regulation proponents who are in search of evidence or data to justify regulating wireless or wireless spectrum holdings.

The data are more powerful evidence of a competitive wireless industry. Hopefully, this data will nudge the FCC to begrudgingly conclude that the industry is indeed competitive, despite their blinders to the data.

Briefly, the U.S. wireless industry:

  • Grew five-times faster than the U.S. economy — ~9% to ~1.8% in 2012;
  • Invested $17.2b in capital investment in the last half of 2012 up 37% from the year before period;
  • Showed real competitive losses to free broadband messaging, as paid SMS text messages were down 4.9% annually in 2012, down 7.1% for last six months of 2012, and 11.3% for the last month of 2012 (Competition works!);
  • The amount of data usage increased 69.3% in 2012; and
  • The number of smart phones in use grew 36.4% in 2012.

These are data of a vibrantly competitive and innovative industry, not one in need of preemptive net neutrality or spectrum cap regulation.

[First published at The Precursor Blog]