Cellphone subscriptions outnumber people in U.S.

CTIA survey shows wireless penetration rate in U.S. at 103.9%

The CTIA has released survey data that shows the number of wireless subscriber connections now outnumbers the U.S. population, adding up to a wireless penetration rate of 103.9%.

"CTIA’s semi-annual survey proves that Americans love wireless and continue to rely on the most cutting-edge and innovative devices and services in the world. Clearly, we’re using wireless more every day, and the consensus of experts is that demand will continue to skyrocket by more than 50 times within the next five years. These are the reasons why our members need more spectrum," said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, which is holding its Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego this week.

COUNTERPOINT: Citigroup questions whether spectrum crunch looms 

BACKGROUND: Obama jobs bill includes spectrum auctions 

Other highlights from the survey, which monitored wireless industry activity from January through June:

*Wireless subscriber connections: 327.6 million, up 9% from mid-year 2010. Subscriber connections were at 203,600 back in June 1985.

*Wireless network data traffic: 341.2 billion megabytes, more than double from the mid-year 2010 count of 161.5 billion megabytes

*The average local monthly bill has settled to around $47, dropping for the second straight survey. The average bill was $95 back in June of 1988, then steadily dropped to $49.88 in June, 1998. Since then, it has crept up and down in the mid- to high $40s.

*Number of active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 95.8 million, up 57% from mid-year 2010

*Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 15.2 million, up 17% from mid-year 2010

From June 2010-June 2011, the annual capital investment increased by CTIA’s service provider members rose 28% to $27.5 billion.  Service providers reportedly aren’t making a killing on their investments yet, however, as they recorded $164.6 billion in revenue for the 12 months ending June 30, up just 6% from the previous 12-month period.

There are now more than a quarter of a million cell sites in the United States, according to the survey.

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