Many of us who watch the wireless sector in the United States are familiar with the interplay of competition, consumer choice and light regulation that have long driven our mobile innovation economy. The vast public benefits of this consumer-driven approach are readily apparent today. Our nation is home to the world’s lowest per-minute voice prices, largest 3G customer base and most diverse applications and device markets.
This paper offers an overview of the many ways competition and choice define and drive mobile innovation throughout the United States and makes the case for smart, nimble and constructive 21st century policies. It is our hope that it can help illuminate a constructive path forward—one rooted in a common understanding of what it will take to continue this essential mobile momentum that, today, makes our nation the envy of a connected, wireless world.
10 Seminal Benchmarks that advance the U.S. Mobile Ecosystem
- MOST DIVERSE CARRIER CHOICES. The U.S. has the lowest market concentration of any leading OECD nation. Today, there are more than 160 facilities-based U.S. wireless providers, including at least four nationwide operators and seven providers, each serving more than four million subscribers.
- LOWEST MOBILE VOICE PRICES. U.S. consumers enjoy the lowest wireless per-minute voice prices in the world.
- ADOPTION NEARING 100%. 91% of Americans have a mobile device and virtually all of us keep them within arm’s reach 24 hours a day.
- MOST ROBUST NETWORK INVESTMENT. Despite a weak economy and mounting regulatory uncertainty, wireless providers have invested on average $20 billion annually in U.S. mobile infrastructure since 2006.
- RAPIDLY RISING MOBILE CONNECTIVITY. Mobile data traffic passed wireless voice traffic in December of last year—and is expected to grow at 100x the rate of wireless voice traffic over the next 10 years.
- ACCELERATING MOBILE INNOVATION. Wireless is leaping beyond “phones” to medical tablets, smart appliances, and an estimated 10 billion connected devices around the world by 2020, powering the next great wave in global computing innovation.
- MOST COMPETITIVE DEVICE MARKET. In 2008 and 2009, more than 65 smartphones were introduced to U.S. consumers.
- LARGEST APPS MARKET. U.S. consumers can access more than 300,000 mobile apps from at least ten stores.
- CUSTOMER-RESPONSIVE MARKETPLACE. From no-risk trial periods to coverage maps to pro-rated early termination fees to features and services to track and manage usage, wireless providers are continually responding to consumer demand in the absence of prescriptive regulations.
- POWERFUL ENGINE OF JOB CREATION AND GROWTH. Mobile innovation supports 2.4 million U.S. jobs and contributes $100 billion annually to U.S. GDP.