2014 CTIA Wireless Industry Survey Suggest Maturing Industry

The CTIA recently released its annual wireless survey including 2014 results. This year’s survey is full of data suggesting a rapid maturation of the US wireless industry. Seven key data points:

  1. Annual Data growth slowed to 26%, growing from 3.23 trillion MB in 2013 to 4.06 trillion MB in 2014. This is the slowest data growth since the advent of material wireless data usage. It also brings 2014 data well below the FCC’s 2010 projections on which the National Broadband Plan’s call for 300 MHz of new wireless broadband spectrum by 2015 was based. (More on that in a future post.)
  2. Voice minutes declined! Actual voice minutes declined from 2.618 trillion in 2013 to 2.445 trillion in 2014. While voice traffic has long been seen as low growth, it is now officially on the decline.
  3. Cell sites have fallen! Total cell site at yearend 2014 stood at 298,055 compared to 303,360 at yearend 2013 and 301,779 at yearend 2012. This is likely due to consolidation of cell sites due to M&A activity.
  4. Text messaging has plateaued. Text messaging peaked in 2012 with 2.19 trillion to 1.91 trillion in 2013 to 1.92 trillion in 2014.
  5. Industry revenue is essentially flat. $185.0 billion in 2012, to $189.2 billion in 2013 to $187.8 billion in 2014.
  6. Industry capx stable. 2014 wireless industry Caxp was $32.1 billion compared to $33.1 billion in 2013 and $30.1 billion in 2012. The lack of acceleration in capx suggest the industry is not scrambling to ramp-up splitting of cell sites and other techniques to add more capacity.
  7. Multimedia messaging soars! Increasing from 14.9 billion in 2008, to 74.4 billion in 2012 to 96.1 billion in 2013 to 151.99 billion in 2014. This is clearly the hotspot for industry growth. Expect an emphasis on new applications to exploit this growing market.

More analysis of recent market information to follow on later posts.