Mobile Future

Report Highlights Importance of Private Investment to High Speed Mobile Broadband in Rural America

U.S. Population Dispersion and Geography Pose Unique Challenges


(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, Mobile Future and Analysys Mason released a new report, “Rural Mobile Services Deployment in the U.S.: Challenges in International Context,” examining the unique challenges facing the deployment of mobile wireless network infrastructure in the remaining rural areas of the country lacking wireless broadband coverage. 

The analysis found that with low population densities in vast areas of the nation and challenging geography in remote areas in the country, U.S. providers face significantly more expensive deployment costs to reach consumers in rural markets as compared to most of their global counterparts. 

The report concludes with several options to help overcome these challenges, such as requiring companies awarded spectrum licenses have the adequate capital resources needed to deploy next generation wireless networks in the remaining rural areas that need coverage. 

Based on analysis of data on the population and geographic coverage by mobile networks in eight other members of the G20 with similar level of economic development to the United States: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom (UK), the paper found:

  • Population Density Poses Wireless Broadband Deployment Challenges: The most sparsely distributed 1% of the U.S. population lies within 1,880,000 square miles of the country’s total land area – more than twice the size of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
  • The U.S. Leads Deployment of Mobile Broadband Coverage:  The United States has consistently led France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in terms of population coverage by mobile networks at 3G or above, since approximately 2008.
    • The United States surpassed the population coverage of all five of these countries in only two years, as well as exceeding the total investment (even on a per-subscriber basis) in each of these five countries in order to reach the additional subscribers.
    • The eight European nations with more than 99% wireless broadband coverage are significantly smaller and more densely populated than the U.S. 

“Despite the unique challenges to deploying wireless broadband to the most rural areas of our country, the United States is consistently a leader in deploying mobile coverage to a population spread over millions of miles,” said Mobile Future chair Jonathan Spalter. “The expanded U.S. mobile network coverage is a testament to massive network provider investment and the intense competition that fosters coverage from multiple network providers.”

To read the report, click here.


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Mobile Future is a coalition of cutting-edge technology and communications companies, consumers and a diverse group of non-profit organizations, working to support an environment which encourages investment and innovation in the dynamic wireless sector.  Our mission is to help inform and educate the public and key decision makers in business and government on the broad range of wireless innovations that are transforming our society and the nation’s economy.


Analysys Mason is a trusted adviser on telecoms, media and technology (TMT). We work with our clients, including operators, regulators and end users in a variety of ways to assist and improve their market performance. With over 250 staff in 12 offices, we are respected worldwide for our exceptional quality of work, independence and flexibility in responding to client needs. For 25 years we have been helping clients in more than 100 countries to maximize their opportunities, through both our consulting and research divisions.