US Wireless Data Market: Mid Year Update statistics

US Wireless Data Market: Mid Year Update

By Chetan Sharma

• US wireless data market is growing at an impressive rate. Top 4 US carriers (Cingular, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile) accounted for over $6.3B in wireless data revenues for the first half of 2006. Overall, wireless data service revenues exceeded $7B and the figures are likely to exceed $15B for the year 2006. This is almost a 75% jump from end-of-2005 number of $8.6B. The growth rate slowed down only slightly from 2004-2005 growth rate of 87%. SMS and data transport still drives bulk of data revenues but their percentage share is declining.

• Among the top 4 US carriers, Verizon has made the most impressive strides in the last 4 quarters, increasing their wireless data revenues by a whopping 114%. Next Sprint with 71%, T-Mobile with 65%, and Cingular with 54% also netted impressive gains.

• Verizon became the first US carrier to net over $1B in wireless data revenues in a quarter. Cingular was close second with $979M and Sprint with $935M are likely to cross the $1B mark next quarter.

• Sprint retains its leadership position of highest wireless data ARPU in terms of absolute dollar amount at $7.25 but lost its number one spot in the % data ARPU to Verizon which now leads the US carriers at almost 13%. Average data ARPU is now $6.3 or 12%.

• Overall ARPU (voice + data) increased slightly from Q106 but declined $0.27 from Q405. The general trend is towards slow decline. Data revenue is barely keeping up with the decline in voice ARPU. On an average voice ARPU has declined 8% from a year ago and data ARPU has increased 48%. Average Overall ARPU was $53.04. Sprint led with $62 followed by T-Mobile at $51, Verizon at $49.7, and Cingular with $48.4.

• If the current trends hold, Verizon Wireless is likely to surpass Cingular Wireless as number 1 US carrier by Q307.

• US had about 7M 3G subscribers by Q206, primarily from Verizon and Sprint Nextel. With Cingular joining the fray, the 3G growth is expected to accelerate with 2007 being the inflection year.

• US wireless subscriber penetration stands at approximately 74% and is likely to exceed 78% by the end of the year.

• Top 4 carriers added 12.7M subscribers from Jan-Jun 2006.

• The top 4 US carrier account for 79% of the subscribers, 86% of the service revenues, and approximately 95% of the wireless data revenues.

• US Off-net revenues for the year are likely to exceed $750M.

• Data ARPU of CDMA/EV-DO carriers was 20% higher than GSM/WCDMA carriers.

• Several high-profile MVNOs were also launched in the last few months and the overall results have been disappointing primarily due to poor execution, instant crowding effect, and competition from big 4.

• US wireless carriers are steadily climbing in their wireless data performance as compared to their peers worldwide. Verizon, Cingular, and Sprint ranked number 4, 5, and 6 respectively, amongst the top 10 operators worldwide in terms of total wireless data revenue generated for first half of 2006.

• The #1 carrier worldwide in terms of total wireless data revenue for the first six months of 2006 is NTT DoCoMo which has maintained its position for a number of years. It is now generating almost $900M/month from wireless data revenues.

• The top 10 carriers in terms of total wireless data revenues for 1H06 in order of rank are NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile, KDDI, Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel, O2 UK, Vodafone Japan, SK Telecom, and China Unicom. (6 Asian, 3 US, 1 Europe. Who says US is behind). Vodafone Germany, TMO Germany, and TMO US are also closing in.

• All the top 10 carriers in the list exceeded $1B in data revenues for the first six months of 2006. China Mobile and China Unicom benefited from their huge subscriber base of 274M and 135M respectively while DoCoMo and KDDI did well because they are generating over $17 (or 28%) in wireless data ARPU.

• The top 10 carriers accounted for almost $24B in wireless data revenues for the first six months of 2006. The top 10 carriers account for approximately 700M (or approx 28%) subscribers worldwide.

• In terms of wireless investments, over $2.8B was invested in wireless related companies/startups from Jan-Jun 2006 (this figure jumped to $4.1B in July). Source: Rutberg. Mobile TV/Video, Mobile Personalization, Mobile Search and Advertising, Semiconductor, Carrier infrastructure, Device design and development are hot areas. M&A activity also picked up quite significantly.

• WiMax industry got a big boost with almost $1B investment in Clearwire and due to Sprint Nextel’s announcement of WiMax deployment. Sigh of relief for Intel and Samsung. Puts pressure on Qualcomm. Maybe Intel will renegotiate with Clearwire.

• Worldwide Handset market share: Nokia and Motorola dominated with 35% and 23% market share respectively. Samsung with 12% stands third. Source: iSuppli. Though Apple’s iPhone rumors have been clouding the market, it is Motorola which continues to lead in launching must-have handsets. Windows mobile is starting to make serious inroads in the handset market but performance issues and high price points deter mass market adoption.

If you want a powerpoint version of this , please post a comment with your email address and we will email it to you


  1. These are very helpful stats! Our company is based in North America and most of our customers are from the US, so this reinforces our belief that mobile data services will eventually become big here, although still way behind Asia and Europe.

  2. Interesting stats. Could you email the poerpoint version to allan.maclean @
    Many thanks,

  3. Bill Brister says:

    GREAT Information … would love a powerpoint!

  4. Would love to have a power point deck sent to my email…have just started representing a start-up content developer working in the area of chronic disease management. Have alot to learn (especially how to become approved providers with Verizon and T-Mobile) but also about wireless data in general. Thanks…

  5. Greg Harris says:

    Thanks for posting a great summary. Great Blog! Please forward Powerpoint if you can.

  6. Serkan says:

    good stats! is there any stats about MVNOs like Helio ?
    I would like to get the ppt version of this.

  7. I would like a powerpoint version of “US Wireless Data Market: Mid Year Update.”

  8. Andy Travers says:

    this snapshot stats are good. I’d like to see info on what productivity apps thecarriers believe are important for them (i.e. which will lead to increasse in ARPU)

  9. Martin says:

    Hello Chetan,
    very interesting numbers. Is there any indication in the source for the numbers how much of the $7bn is revenue from SMS?

  10. Kate says:

    Could I please have a PPT version of these stats? Thank you, excellent information.

  11. Jeff Arbour says:

    Great stats. Please send me the pp of this information.
    Thank you!

  12. Ian Geller says:

    I would love a version of this in PPT. The stats are incredibly informative.

  13. Ryan Chen says:

    Please send me a copy of this in powerpoint format to my email at [email protected] . Thank you so much for the info!

  14. Raj says:

    Pls send me the ppt of this information

  15. Evanna says:

    It’s superb to get such succinct information about the size of the market both for the USA and globally. Keep up the good work, please email the presentation to: [email protected]

  16. divya says:

    It’s really a good analysis , gives a complete inforamtion about global wireless market.
    please mail the presentation to [email protected]

  17. Can I have a copy of the powerpoint presentation? Thanks.

  18. Great analysis. Can you also provide the actual number of voice and data subscribers?

  19. Ravi Gill says:

    Interesting data. Can you please e-mail the presentation to me at [email protected]

  20. vadiraj says:

    Very helpful stats. Please send to my email.

  21. Thanks a lot for the blog, it really helps to catch up with the global trends.
    Could you please share the ppoint file for US “Wireless Data Market: Mid Year Update statistics”
    Thank you.

  22. Jon Driscoll says:

    Great list of statistics. I’m interested on any tracking of unlocked GSM unlocked devices launching on carrier networks. We see it a growing market trend in the region.

  23. rjoseph says:

    Great stats!!

  24. Victoria Abello says:

    Very interesting information. We are waiting for the North America data market to pick up the pace of the Asian markets and see a great data revolution!!!!!!!!!!!Huge revenues involve

  25. Akin Onal says:

    Doing a personal research on this topic. Thanks for the great info. A ppt version would make me really happy

  26. Amit Singh says:

    Great stats Chetan,
    I know I have come across this amazing piece of information very late in the day.But if you still could send me a copy of the powerpoint presentation at [email protected],you would have done me a great favour…

  27. Ray says:

    Please forward a copy of the ppt.

  28. Tim Jones says:

    Please forward me a copy of the powerpoint for the US Statistics

  29. James says:

    Great piece of work, if you still have it please could I get the powerpoint?
    many thanks

  30. Ari says:

    Very interesting stats. Could I have the powerpoint as well?

  31. Cleiton Goncalves says:

    How up to date is this info? I work for Sprint and I would like to share this info with my retail team. It is always good to gather as much knowledge as you can about such a competitive industry.

  32. Peter Zajac says:

    I’m doing a presentation on wireless , the article is great! I would love a powerpoint on this info>
    Peter Zajac

  33. Ron Rios says:

    very nice summary. If possible, please send me the powerpoint presentation.
    Ron Rios

  34. Jerry says:

    I would appreciate it if you would forward a copy of the powerpoint presentation.

  35. Stephanie Kong says:

    Hi there,
    Two questions: Do you have an updated version of these stats? Can you send me the powerpoint version for this post as well as an updated version if available?
    Thank you so much!

  36. Alan Albert says:

    Glad I could find up to date stats. Please email the ppt to me.

  37. Gaurav Gautam says:

    This is an excellent research on the US market with indepth analysis. Would require a PPT version of the same.
    Gaurav Gautam

  38. john says:

    very useful stats thank you

  39. please send the ppt

  40. Swapnil says:

    Please forward me something related to
    “Global Wireless Entrerprise Application trends” with segregation of US,EU and APAC regions.

  41. Kevin says:

    Great research. Please send me the ppt. Also, I would appreciate if you have updated research. Thank you.

  42. I would like that powerponit that you offer in this article.
    Thank you very much

  43. pratik pawar says:

    this is really going to help me alot

  44. Pratish Halady says:

    Hi, these are great stats; could you provide a PPT version of this information please? Thanks so much.

  45. Charissa says:

    Hi, can I have a copy of the powerpoint presentation? Thanks.

  46. Mansi says:

    The information is interesting . However can you provide the same statistics for year 2007

  47. Dave H says:

    AGreat info. Can you send me the PP presentation? Thanks

  48. Seydou Djabate says:

    very good stats.
    Could you please email me the powerpoint. Also in case you have new numbers for 2007, it would be wonderful

  49. Please could you email me the PPT on 2007 figures says:

    How is the cuurent economic crisis affecting the telecom industry, espercially that of the US?

  50. Paula says:

    Very informative….Would love a powerpoint version of this!