Thursday, September 15, 2022

CTIA Annual Survey: Record-Breaking Investment Benefits Consumers

On Tuesday, CTIA released the 2022 edition of its annual wireless industry survey. Among other milestones, it documents an unprecedented level of investment, accelerated cell-site deployments enabled by regulatory reforms, the explosive adoption by consumers of 5G devices, inflation-defying price decreases, and the rapid rise of fixed wireless as a viable home broadband alternative.

Specific findings from the survey include the following:

In 2021 alone, U.S. wireless carriers spent almost $35 billion "to grow, improve and run their networks." As the following chart illustrates, that record-breaking total represents the fourth straight year of increased annual investment.

Thanks to efforts by the FCC and the states to streamline siting regulations, 69,543 cell sites – 62 percent of the post-2016 total – were constructed in the two years between 2019 and 2021.

5G service today is available to 315 million Americans. And consumers are adopting this mobile broadband technology at a brisk pace: the total number of deployed 5G-capable devices grew by over 500 percent during just the past year. Consequently, one in three adults now have a 5G-capable smartphone or other device.

While consumer prices overall have increased by 94 percent thanks to "historic" levels of inflation, prices for unlimited data plans have fallen by nearly half since 2010.

5G fixed wireless quickly has emerged as a viable competitive alternative for home broadband service: over 40 million households already have access to this option.

Highlights from CTIA's 2022 Annual Survey are available here.