Follow the money dep't: wireless up $3B over last year

October 26, 2009 by Dave Haynes


Right about this time last year we were all hiding under our desks and thinking about soup kitchen etiquette as the economic news kept getting crappier by the day.

A lot of deals were drying up and the smart people were trying to figure out which industries were going to be largely recession proof. The most obvious one was, at least to my feeble mind, wireless retail.  People might trade down in a pile of shopping categories, and put off a whole bunch of purchasing decisions like big screen TVs and cars, but they were NOT going to let anyone mess with their phones, and they were still all going to want the latest, greatest handsets.

The latest findings from CTIA – The Wireless Association back up the notion that mobile is still growing rapidly. How many charts have you seen in the past year that are pretty much the opposite look of the one here?  

Reports Marketing Charts:

More than 740 billion text messages were sent in the US during the  first half of 2009, a figure that breaks down to approximately 4.1 billion messages per day, according to findings from a semi-annual industry survey from  CTIA-The Wireless Association.

This number is nearly double the number of texts sent during the same period last year, when 385 billion were reported in H108, the wireless-industry association said.

The survey report (pdf), which includes numerous industry statistics from H109 across all US carriers, reveals that the wireless industry continues to grow, and posted six-month revenues of nearly $76 billion, up from just less than $73 million during H108.

The number of estimated mobile subscribers rose as well.  In June 2009, CTIA said there were 276 million wireless users, a year-over-year increase of nearly 14 million  in June 2008.

In particular, wireless data service revenues showed exceptionally strong year-to-year gains, climbing to more than $19.4 billion for the first half of 2009, CTIA said. This represents a 31% increase over H108.

Wireless data revenues, which represent what consumers spend on non-voice services, accounted for more than 25% of all wireless service revenues, the report said, noting that more than 246 million data-capable devices are in the hands of consumers today. More than 40 million of these devices are Smartphones or wireless-enabled PDAs, and more than 10 million are wireless-enabled laptops, notebooks or aircards.

“The survey results indicate that mobile broadband is an integral part of everyday life for many Americans,” said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA -The Wireless Association. “The wireless ecosystem – infrastructure suppliers, service providers, device manufacturers, operating system providers, and applications developers – are simultaneously working together and competing against one another to generate valuable and unparalleled products and services for consumers.”

I hear regularly from folks looking for technology solutions that service that sector, and it is quite surprising how little is still being done to address the needs of wireless retailers with really targeted solutions, versus generic stuff that COULD be used in these settings. If there was ever a retail vertical to get focused on in the past year, this was it.   

Leave a comment