Mobile – A Competitive Industry

A Competitive Industry

Wireless companies fight every day for every consumer’s business. Competition means wireless companies work relentlessly to improve their networks and launch innovative services. In the last several years, consumers have seen real benefits from competition, including:

  • Lower prices
  • Unlimited data and free data services
  • New devices
  • Faster speeds
  • Free add-ons such as Netflix, HBO, or Tidal subscriptions

Consumer Choice

of Americans have 3 or more choices in 4G LTE service providers

Consumer Choice

America’s wireless companies compete hard for every consumer’s business. Nearly every American can choose between three or more providers and there are nearly 100 providers, resellers, and MVNOs nationwide.
Source: Federal Communications Commission, 2020 Communications Marketplace Report, December 31, 2020.

The Federal Communications Commission agrees that the wireless industry is competitive. The FCC has found that 99 percent of Americans have a choice of three or more 4G providers. That’s because there are nearly 100 mobile providers, resellers, and MVNOs nationwide, and consumers can choose from hundreds of devices, multiple operating systems, and millions of apps and services.
This competition continues as providers roll out 5G. The U.S. has among the world’s fastest 5G speeds, and is the largest country with three nationwide 5G networks. We’re also doing it much more quickly than ever before. The U.S. industry built more cell sites in the last two years than in the seven prior years combined, and the leading smartphone providers have all launched new signature 5G devices. Initial 5G networks also already cover over 300 million Americans.

Competition drives the industry to invest. Since 2016, wireless companies have invested nearly $140 billion to improve speeds, coverage, and quality. Those investments mean tangible benefits to consumers: for instance, over the past decade, speeds are up 58x.
At the same time, Americans are paying less for wireless. The decline in wireless prices in 2017 was so significant that it drove the average price for core consumer goods down across the economy for the first time since 2010. And between mid-2017 and year-end 2020 prices fell further, by ~10%.