As President Bush prepares to give his State of the Union speech in two weeks, I thought it would be interesting to look at the health of the wireless industry. On that note, the State of the Wireless Union is strong!
Analysts primarily look at subscriber additions, average revenue per user (ARPU) and penetration rate. All of these factors are solid. The industry has over 229 million users, ARPU is stabilizing and data addiction in the United States continues to grow. As mentioned in this article in the New York Times today, data revenues for Verizon Wireless, Cingular and Sprint each crossed $1 billion a quarter for the first time. This growth will continue as more people utilize their mobile device to connect to the Internet and 3G is deployed across the country. With regard to penetration rates, we are over 70 percent in the United States. This statistic should not cause concern because the value of the customer is increasing and many individuals have multiple devices (for example, many folks carry a phone and a blackberry). The future for the wireless industry is bright.
On the horizon, are new players (for instance, Apple) that want to enter this market. With the emergence of the Internet, the broadband connection is becoming available in the device (WiFi, WiMax or 3G) not necessarily the traditional network operator. Consumers today value mobility and they have an unprecedented array of choices in how they communicate. Industry executives that embrace this era of mobility and broadband networks will capture the hearts of consumers and be rewarded in the long run.