17th Annual

Mobile Wireless Competition Report

In recent years, mobile wireless services have gone from a luxury to a convenience to an absolutely central part of Americans’ daily lives. Increasing numbers of users now have multiple devices connected to mobile networks. Handsets are no longer used just for voice communication, email, social networking, and web browsing, but increasingly as hubs for entertainment, mobile commerce, and to connect other personal devices such as smart watches and fitness monitors. These developments have helped make mobile wireless one of the most important sectors in the national economy. The Federal Communications Commission is required by Congress to issue an annual report on the State of competition in the mobile wireless industry. On December 18, 2014 the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released the Seventeenth Annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report. This report covers data from 2013 and the first half of 2014 and looked at factors such as market shares among providers, coverage, and pricing trends. Some of the key data and findings are presented below.

Download the Report Appendices and Maps

Market Shares

Market Shares for Facilities-Based Mobile Wireless Providers Based on Service Revenues 2011-2013

Sources: UBS 411 Version 51 Table 31 p. 19; UBS 411 2Q 2014; CTIA Year-End 2013 Wireless Industry Indices; 16th CR

Voice Coverage

Estimated Mobile Wireless Coverage by Census Block January 2014

Sources: January 2014 Mosaik Data; 2010 Census Data.

The percentages of population located in census blocks with zero, one, two, or three or more mobile wireless or mobile broadband providers represent network coverage, which does not necessarily mean that they offered service to residents in the census block. In addition, we emphasize that a provider reporting mobile wireless or mobile broadband coverage in a particular census block may not provide coverage everywhere in the census block. For both these reasons, the number of providers in a census block does not necessarily reflect the number of choices available to a particular individual or household, and does not purport to measure competition. In addition, calculations based on Mosaik data on coverage, while useful for measuring developments in mobile wireless coverage, have certain limitations that likely overstate the extent of mobile wireless and mobile broadband coverage.

Broadband Coverage

Estimated Mobile Wireless Broadband Coverage by Census Block January 2014

Sources: January 2014 Mosaik Data; 2010 Census Data.

The percentages of population located in census blocks with zero, one, two, or three or more mobile wireless or mobile broadband providers represent network coverage, which does not necessarily mean that they offered service to residents in the census block. In addition, we emphasize that a provider reporting mobile wireless or mobile broadband coverage in a particular census block may not provide coverage everywhere in the census block. For both these reasons, the number of providers in a census block does not necessarily reflect the number of choices available to a particular individual or household, and does not purport to measure competition. In addition, calculations based on Mosaik data on coverage, while useful for measuring developments in mobile wireless coverage, have certain limitations that likely overstate the extent of mobile wireless and mobile broadband coverage.

Data Usage

Mobile Data Usage per Subscriber 2010 - 2013

Source: CTIA Wireless Industry Indices Year-End 2013, Chart 32 Indices.

Top 15

Top 15 Types of Mobile Apps and Websites Accessed by Smartphone Users in August 2014

Source: ComScore, April 2014

Pricing Levels and Trends

Post-paid Service

Data includes Equipment Installment Payment (EIP) plans with early upgrade options, discounts on monthly service fees for EIP customers, major changes to pricing of Post-paid service plans, and promotions and incentives to attract and retain customers.

Filters - click to narrow by provider

AT&T
Sprint
T-Mobile
Verizon
C Spire
U.S. Cellular

Mar 26, 2013

T-Mobile

Simple Choice "Un-carrier 1.0"

2 year contract discontinued; Launch no contract plan; EIP

July 10, 2013

T-Mobile

Jump "Un-carrier 2.0"

Upgrade every 6 months for $10/month

July 11, 2013

Sprint

Unlimited/My Way/My All-in

Unlimited data to new customers

July 11, 2013

Sprint

Unlimited/My-Way/My All-in

Launch of fixed prior unlimited talk/text/data plans

July 16, 2013

AT&T

Next

Upgrade every 12 months, No down payment

July 18, 2013

Verizon

Edge

Upgrade every 6 months if 50% of device cost is paid off

Sept 1, 2013 - Jan 14, 2014

Sprint

One up

Upgrade after 12 months, No down payment

Sept 20, 2013 - Jan 14, 2014

Sprint

One up

$15/month line for unlimited plans

Oct 10, 2013

T-Mobile

Un-carrier 3.0

International Roaming charges dropped

Oct 11, 2013

AT&T

Mobile Share

Traditional plans discontinued, customers sign up for shared plan

Oct 18, 2013

AT&T

New tablet data plan with free 1 GB data

Oct 23, 2013

T-Mobile

Tablets Un-leashed

Lifetime free 250 MB LTE data per month with tablet plan

Dec 5, 2013

AT&T

Mobile Share Value/Next

$15/month/line

Dec 5, 2013

AT&T

Mobile Share

Monthly service fee based on usage and number of smart phone lines

Jan 1, 2014

Sprint

Family Plan

Free Galaxy Tab3 with plan signup

Jan 1, 2014

Sprint

Family Plans/Easy Pay

Upgrade after 12 months on 24 month EIP, early upgrade with unlimited data plan

Jan 3, 2014 - Feb 14, 2014

AT&T

ETF - Up-to $450 to customers who switch from T-Mobile

Jan 7, 2014

Sprint

Family Plans/Easy Pay

Larger discount as more people join plan, max $10/month/line

Jan 8, 2014

T-Mobile

ETF - Up-to $650 to customers who switch from AT&T

Jan 21, 2014

Verizon

Edge

Upgrade after 30 days if 50% device is paid off

Jan 21, 2014

Verizon

Share Everything

Launch of less expensive entry level plans

Feb 1, 2014

AT&T

Mobile Share Value/Next

Additional $10/month/line for greater than 10GB data

Feb 1, 2014

T-Mobile

Jump

Upgrade anytime as often as you want if 50% device cost is paid off

Feb 1, 2014

AT&T

Mobile Share

Reduced monthly access fee and data price

Feb 4, 2014 - Mar 14, 2014

AT&T

Mobile Share

$100 credit for new lines

Feb 7, 2014

Verizon

Loyalty Plans

Cheaper price plans to retain customers

Feb 10, 2014 - Feb 14, 2014

Verizon

$35 activation fee waived

Feb 13, 2014

Verizon

More Everything/Edge

$10 - $20/month/line for 8 - 10 GB data or more

Feb 13, 2014

Verizon

More Everything

Data allowances increased and fees reduced

Mar 10, 2014

T-Mobile

Simple Choice

Data allowance increased, unlimited data price increased

Mar 10, 2014

AT&T

Mobile Share/Mobile Share Value

Reduced data price, unlimited international messaging at no extra cost

Mar 13, 2014

U.S. Cellular

Data allowance increased

Apr 1, 2014

C Spire

ETF - $200 service credit to customers who switch

Apr 1, 2014

C Spire

Unlimited Everything

$35/month existing unlimited voice & data plans

Apr 2, 2014

Verizon

More Everything

$25/month/line for 10GB data or more

Apr 3, 2014

Verizon

More Everything

Extra data per month for tablets

Apr 4, 2014

Sprint

Framily

ETF - up-to $650 paid to customers who switch

Apr 7, 2014

U.S. Cellular

Shared Connect

ETF - Up-to $350 paid to customers who switch

Apr 9, 2014

T-Mobile

Simple Starter

Launch entry level LTE plan

Apr 10, 2014 - May 14, 2014

T-Mobile

LTE tablets same price as WiFi only; $10 discount on data plans

Apr 14, 2014

Verizon

More Everything

Discounts extended to existing customers on month to month contracts

Apr 14, 2014

T-Mobile

All plans

Overage charges abolished

May 5, 2014

C Spire

Shared Data

$15/month/line for 8 GB or less; $25/month/line for 10 GB or more

May 16, 2014

Verizon

More Everything

Shared business plans launched

June 1, 2014

Verizon

Edge

Make upgrade conditions stricter

June 19, 2014

T-Mobile

Un-carrier 5.0

Customers can use iPhone 5s with unlimited service at no cost for 7 days

Aug 18, 2014

Sprint

Family Share Pack

$100 for 28GB of shared data for up-to 4 lines

Dec 5, 2014

Sprint

Cut Your Bill in Half

Effective 12/05/2014, available for limited time only, Sprint is introducing the Cut Your Bill in Half Event for Verizon and AT&T customers who are interested in switching to Sprint to cut their rate plan in half.

Dec 14, 2014

T-Mobile

Simple Choice

Introduces unlimited 4G LTE Family Plan for $100 for 2 lines and goes all the way up to 10 people for $40 more per line.

Pre-Paid

Filters - click to narrow by provider

AT&T
Sprint
T-Mobile
Verizon
C Spire
U.S. Cellular

May 9, 2013

AT&T

Aio launch

May 15, 2013

T-Mobile

MetroPCS brand launched nationwide

May 16, 2013

Verizon

Increases data allowance

June 20, 2013

AT&T

Increases Aio coverage area and adds LTE

July 25, 2013

T-Mobile

Adds entry level plan MetroPCS plan at $40

Aug 30, 2013

AT&T

Aio launched nationwide

Oct 3, 2013

T-Mobile

Brightspot launched as new pre-paid offering

Feb 6, 2014

Sprint

Price cuts in Boost LTE plans from $35 to $55

Mar 3, 2014

Verizon

Allset plans reduce price and data allowance

Mar 14, 2014

Sprint

New brand and plan launched at $45 and $60

Mar 20, 2014

Sprint

Speeds throttled for heavy users

Apr 17, 2014

AT&T

Aio group discount plans

May 6, 2014

Sprint

Price cuts of unlimited plans for Boost

May 8, 2014

AT&T

Aio shutdown - Launched as New Cricket, new plans starting at $40

May 8, 2014

AT&T

Support of Gov't Lifeline program phased out

June 10, 2014

T-Mobile

Price cut on high-end and other data plans