The Federal Communications Commission just released its latest massive report on the state of the U.S. wireless industry. (All 308 pages available here.)
The basic story: Smartphone penetration is getting huge, teens are texting up a storm, voice usage is going down, and data revenue — while growing — isn’t making up for the decline in voice revenue.
As FBR Capital Markets analysts David Dixon and Dutch Fox note today, it’s the first time the FCC did NOT conclude that the wireless industry is “competitive,” despite no material changes in the industry over the past year.
The analysts’ conclusion: The FCC may put restrictions on Verizon and AT&T during the next spectrum auction to slow their dominance, giving Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile a boost.
Minutes of voice use per subscriber: T-Mobile and Sprint subs talk on their phones a lot more than AT&T subs
Verizon spending a lot more than the others on capex, which suggests its reputation for having a superior network
Voice ARPU (average monthly revenue per subscriber) shrinking, text and data growing but not completely making up for the voice declines
AT&T and Verizon still growing the fastest; super-cheap upstarts MetroPCS and Leap providing some disruption
People who live in rural areas have fewer options for wireless subscribers than the average population
T-Mobile's lack of a 3G network (due to spectrum shortage) really held back its data revenue growth trajectory
Family plan penetration is huge. This is one reason why it's such a pain to switch providers: You have to switch everyone at once.
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