Annual Wireless Industry Survey

Year-End U.S. Figures from CTIA's Annual Survey Report

Unless otherwise noted, facts are from CTIA-The Wireless Association,
CTIA's Wireless Industry Summary Report, Year-End 2015 Results, 2015

 Dec. '15  Dec. '14  Dec. '13
 Dec. '10
Dec. '05 
Wireless Subscriber Connections
Equals # of active devices, including smartphones, feature phones, tablets, etc. Since users may have more than one wireless device, it is not equal to individual subscribers.
 377.9M 355.4M 335.6M 296.3M 207.9M
Wireless Penetration
Equals # of active units divided by the total U.S. and territorial population (Puerto Rico, Guam and the USVI)
 115.7% 110% 104.3%
Wireless-Only Households1
% of U.S. households
 48.3% 47.0% 39.4% 29.7%
Annual Wireless Data Usage (in MB)
 9.65T 4.06T 3.23T 388.0B N/A
Monthly Wireless Data Usage (in MB)
 804.2B 338.4B 269.1B 32.3B N/A
Annual Voice Minutes of Use
 2.881T 2.455T 2.618T 2.241T 1.495T
Monthly Voice Minutes of Use
 240.1B 204.6B
218.2B 186.8B 124.6B
Annual Text Messages
 1.89T 1.92T 1.91T 2.05T 81.21B
Monthly Text Messages (at year-end)
 156.7B 169.3B
153.3B 187.7B 9.8B
Annual Multimedia Messages
 218.5B 151.99B
96.1B 56.6B 1.1B
Monthly Multimedia Messages (at year-end)
 19.8B 15.4B
10.1B 4.3B 181.5M
Annual Wireless Revenue  $191.9B $187.8B $189.2B $159.9B $113.5B
Cell Sites  307,626 298,055 304,360 253,086 183,689
911 Calls2  >460K 460K >400K >296K >200K
Capital Investment  $32.0B $32.1B $33.1B $24.9B $25.2B
K=Thousand M=Million B=Billion T=Trillion
1Figure is from the Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-June 2015. National Center for Health Statistics, December 2015.
2CTIA Wireless 911 and Distress Calls (daily).
CTIA Annual Wireless Industry Survey

CTIA's annual wireless industry survey develops industry-wide information drawn from operational member and non-member wireless service providers. It has been conducted since January 1985, originally as a cellular-only survey instrument, and now including PCS, ESMR, AWS and 700 MHz license holders. No break-out of results specific to spectrum bands or licenses is performed. Previously a semi-annual survey, it is now released annually.

The information solicited from the service providers includes: direct employment, number of cell sites, total service revenues, capital investment and other metrics.

The CTIA survey also develops information on the number of reported wireless subscriber units or "connections" for the responding systems, and an estimated total wireless connections figure (taking into account non-responding systems).

To preview the report look at the Annual Year-End 2015 Top-Line Survey Results .

The report is available for purchase. If you would like to purchase the report, it is available at here, at either a member or non-member price. Annual subscriptions are also available 

The Annual Wireless Industry Survey is completely voluntary and thus does not yield a 100 percent response rate from all service providers. However, the survey has an excellent response rate. For the December 31, 2015, installment of the survey, CTIA aggregated data from companies serving over 97 percent of all estimated wireless subscriber connections.

Because not all systems do respond, CTIA develops an estimate of total wireless connections. The estimate is developed by determining the identity and character of non-responding markets (e.g., RSA/MSA or equivalent-market designation, age of system, market population), and using surrogate penetration and growth rates applicable to similar, known systems to derive probable subscribership. These numbers are then summed with the reported subscriber connection numbers to reach the total estimated figures.

No carrier-specific or market-specific information is maintained as a result of the survey. All such information is aggregated by an independent accounting firm to a nationwide level. The underlying source material for the survey is then destroyed per confidentiality agreements.

Last updated: May 2016
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