Sunday, 11 October 2009 19:18

Mobile phone use approaching saturation in USA

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Recent data published by CTIA, the US-based Wireless telecommunications association shows the rate of grown in the wireless market is slowing to a virtual trickle.

CTIA publishes a twice-yearly report summarising the state of the wireless telecommunications industry in the US.  The latest issue published at the International CTIA WIRELESS I.T. & Entertainment 2009, offers the usual slew of facts.

For instance, they state that US subscribers sent an average if 4.1 billion text messages per day in the first half of 2009, up from 2.1 billion in the first half of 2008 - this averages (based on the figures provided) to be a little under 15 per person per day.

Out of 276 million wireless users, there are 246 million with data-capable devices, of which 40 million are smartphones or wireless-enabled PDAs.

Although as might be expected the report paints the data in a very positive light, there are some less positive facts to be gleaned.  The global financial crisis has impacted the industry causing a reduction in total employment of 2.4%; the first reduction since data was recorded in 1885.

More importantly, year-on-year growth in both subscribers and revenue has been steadily decreasing from the heady days of 50 – 70% in the late 1980s through mid-high teens through the early 2000s and now, in the past two years, dipping below 10%, reaching 5% in the most recent data.  The provided data for total wireless minutes echos the same dropping-off in the rate of increase.

Despite the impact of products like the iPhone and the expected increase in usage, this set of trends reflects the fact that the US is a mature market.  There are really only two significant sources of customers: firstly young people and secondly the customers of the competitors.

Readers are encouraged to obtain the free data snapshot (there is a much more extensive data-set available for a fee) and, as was done for this report, perform some closer analysis of the figures.  There is plenty of interest to discover.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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