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CTIA Offers State Of The Industry Snapshot At Confab

If you believe everything CTIA, The Wireless Association has to say about the wireless industry, it would seem like it is firing on all cylinders. However, the rosy statistics don't quite cover up all the thorns.
If you believe everything CTIA, The Wireless Association has to say about the wireless industry, it would seem like it is firing on all cylinders. However, the rosy statistics don't quite cover up all the thorns.OK, so first let's get the freshly polished survey results out of the way:


  • Wireless data service revenue for the first half of 2007 rose to $10.5 billion, which is a 63% increase over the first half of 2006.
  • Wireless data revenue now amounts to 15.5% of all wireless service revenue.
  • Text messaging again set new records, with 28.8 billion messages reported in the month of June 2007 alone -- almost one billion messages a day. This represents an increase of 130% over June 2006.
  • As of June 2007, the industry survey recorded more than 243 million wireless users. This represents a year-over-year increase of almost 24 million subscribers.
  • Wireless customers used more than 1.1 trillion minutes in the first half of 2007, up 18% over the first half of 2006, and generated more than $67 billion in total wireless revenue in six months.

What does all that add up to? More people are spending more money on wireless services. Considering that mobile phones are becoming peoples' main communications devices, the continued increases in these numbers is not particularly surprising.

They also mask the truth a little bit. The upcoming 700-Mhz auction has caused no end of controversy and divided the mobile community on some important issues, such as open access to networks. Bitter lawsuits are being flung back and forth between potential participants in this auction. This has created a lack of unified support for the open access measures and public safety rules.

Not only that, but other lawsuits abound. Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nokia, and others have locked horns over various patent issues, many of which have yet to be fully resolved.

So, the CTIA, the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, presents a nice picture of the industry in its little survey. And I don't disagree that the industry has a lot to crow about. But there also are some serious tensions boiling just under the surface that could erupt into nasty, public battles that would cause this rosy picture to bare its thorns.