Mobile Future

Mobile Future Letter to FCC Points to Fiercely Competitive Wireless Marketplace

Washington, DC – Mobile Future today submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission highlighting how the U.S. wireless market remains the most fiercely competitive, healthy, and perpetually innovative wireless market in the world. The letter details the dynamic conditions in today’s wireless marketplace and points to exploding consumer demand for mobile broadband as driving wireless competition and creating a wealth of choices in service offerings, devices, and applications.

Among the most quickly adopted technologies in history, the letter points to statistics underscoring the skyrocketing consumer demand for mobile broadband service; robust wireless investment and deployment; innovative and cutting edge mobile broadband devices; and the dynamic and astounding growth in both mobile operating systems and apps markets.

“The facts and data clearly show that competition and innovation are thriving in all segments of the wireless ecosystem in the United States, providing significant benefits for our economy, employment and consumers alike,” said Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter. “It is this type of market dynamism that will fuel U.S. global competitiveness and help to secure our economic future.”

Among the statistics highlighted in the letter:

Mobile Broadband Demand

  • On average, mobile users are now consuming 350 MB per month, a year-over-year traffic increase of 132%.
  • By 2014, mobile broadband traffic will increase 35-fold over 2009 levels; Cisco estimates a 60 times increase over the same period.
  • The market for machine-to-machine (“M2M”) communications is expected to increase dramatically the demand for mobile broadband, with one report predicting that the U.S. will become the world leader in individual mobile data consumption by the end of 2011.
  • Today’s deployments of new fourth-generation (“4G”) networks increase the likelihood that mobile broadband will be viewed by consumers as a viable substitute for fixed broadband. Some analysts have predicted that within three years, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than through desktops.

Mobile Network Investment and Deployment

  • Clearwire, which has both a retail business and wholesale relationships with Sprint, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable, has aggressively built out its 4G WiMAX network. That network now covers 68 markets across the U.S. and provides average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps with burst rates of up to 10 Mbps.
  • AT&T has announced plans to acquire T-Mobile to merge the two companies’ spectrum resources and expand mobile broadband deployment to reach 95% of American consumers.
  • MetroPCS became the first mobile carrier to launch a 4G Long Term Evolution (“LTE”) service with deployments in six metropolitan areas and plans to expand service to at least eight other cities in the upcoming year. MetroPCS LTE users are expected to experience download speeds of 6-8 mbps.
  • Verizon Wireless launched its LTE service with download speeds of 5-12 Mbps and 2-5 Mbps upload speeds to more than 100 million potential customers in 38 markets, and announced plans to cover nearly all of its legacy network with LTE by 2013.
  • LightSquared, a new wholesale wireless provider, made significant progress on its commitment to provide 4G coverage to at least 100 million people in the U.S. by December 31, 2012; 145 million people by December 31, 2013; and 260 million people by December 31, 2015, announcing that it had received hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to support network construction. In addition, LightSquared announced in March 2011 that Leap Wireless had become its first telecommunications provider customer. News outlets have also widely reported plans for LightSquared to use some of Sprint’s network infrastructure to roll-out the company’s service. The rumored infrastructure deal would speed LightSquared’s deployment to build yet another nationwide wireless network.

Mobile Broadband Devices

  • Consumers can now choose from more than 630 devices supplied by at least 32 manufacturers.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2010, 48% of mobile devices sold in the U.S. were smartphones.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, smartphone shipments exceeded combined desktop and laptop computer shipments.
  • The tablet market took off in 2010 with the introduction of the iPad, and many competing tablets have followed, including hundreds of tablets that debuted at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Mobile Device Operating Systems and Mobile Apps Market

  • More than six operating systems are now available for mobile devices, including Android OS, iOS, Blackberry OS, Windows Phone 7, Palm/WebOS, Symbian, and others.
  • In just three years, subscribers have downloaded more than 13 billion applications to their mobile devices.
  • Today, consumers have access to almost 1 million apps from 26 different app stores.
  • The “apps economy” is projected to generate $38 billion in sales in 2015.

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Mobile Future is a broad-based coalition of businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals interested in and dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged. Our mission is to educate the public and key decision makers on innovations in the wireless industry that have transformed the way Americans work and play and to advocate continued investment in wireless technologies.