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USA - Telecoms, Wireless, Broadband and Forecasts

For those seeking high level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • Forecast growth in select telecommunication markets.
  • The emerging trends in the USA voice, broadband and digital TV sectors.
  • Developments in the broader digital media economy, such as in smart grids, e-health and e-government.
  • How the USA is faring in terms of global broadband development.
  • The current and emerging broadband technologies and their long-term projections.
  • The growth of mobile voice and data and the deployment of 3G and 4G technologies.
  • Key information on the major telecommunication operators.


This annual publication details the fixed-line, mobile (wireless) and broadband markets in the USA, as well as examining the digital TV sector and the emergence of new telecommunication services such as VoIP and IPTV. The report also profiles developments in the broader digital economy, including smart energy grids and the nascent e-health, e-government and e-education sectors.

The cable companies continued to be the beneficiaries of the telcos’ landline losses, with cable VoIP subscriber numbers expected to continue its strong growth in 2011/12. In addition, cable companies retained the lead in broadband market share, with cable modem subscriber growth exceeding DSL growth in 2009/10, against the trend witnessed for most of the last decade. This was partly explained by the fact that the telcos were concentrating on their FttH network deployments.

In the mobile market, the WiMAX and LTE open access 4G platforms, to which Sprint-Clearwire and Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility respectively have committed, offer significant scope for increased developments in mobile broadband usage.

The telecommunications industry is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, with total industry revenues growing in the single figures during 2009 and early 2010. Despite the slow recovery, a number of sectors, notably the mobile and broadband sectors, are enjoying growth that is many times higher than broader economic growth.

This report contains overviews, analyses and detailed statistics of the US fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets including their sub-markets such as DSL, cable, FttH, wireless broadband, utilities broadband, the Internet, VoIP and IPTV.

Market Highlights:Total revenue for the telecommunications industry is forecast to grow by around 10% during 2010 to reach around $1.4 trillion. Growth will continue to be underpinned by broadband uptake and mobile data revenues. By 2010, mobile phone usage was increasingly more about mobile data usage than voice services. Most notably, during 2009 mobile data traffic exceeded mobile voice traffic for the first time. Moreover, mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a cumulative annual growth rate of over 100% over the next five years.In 2009 the number of mobile-only households overtook the number of landline-only households. During 2010 the number of landline customers will continue to fall, following a nearly 10% decline in 2009. In early 2010, the major cable companies reported approximately 22 million subscribers. Although VoIP was making strong inroads into the telcos’ landline revenues, VoIP subscriber growth during 2009 was only 6%, down from nearly 35% in the previous year. This is partly explained by the increasing penetration of non-facilities based providers, such as Skype, into the VoIP market. By 2010 the number of homes passed by FttH approached 18.5 million, representing around 13% of all households. Of homes passed, around six million were connected, following an increase of more than 50% during 2009 and comprising a take-up rate of around 31%, up from 27% a year earlier. By 2010 the US continued to linger at around 15th on the OECD broadband penetration tables, down from 4th place in 2001. In addition, the US ranks around 23rd in the OECD in terms of average broadband speeds and also trails in affordability.Nevertheless, the market is currently witnessing significant investment activity in FttH deployments, DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades, WiMAX network rollout and municipal wireless broadband activity. For instance, by early 2010 an estimated 45% of the cable industry’s 120 million household footprint had received DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades.A number of important policy statements have been made by the Obama Administration and the FCC which indicate that policy-makers and regulators alike are concerned about the comparatively slow pace of US broadband developments. In particular, in March 2010 the FCC issued The National Broadband Plan which provides a new visionary direction for telecoms in America, including a trans-sectoral approach to broadband networks. Nevertheless, it is up to Congress to take action through legislation without which it will be impossible to implement the Plan in any timely fashion.Although a number of municipal WiFi projects ran into trouble in 2008/09, by 2010 it was becoming increasingly evident that the significant demand for iPhones and similar WiFi-enabled smartphones, netbooks and other WiFi-enabled devices would outstrip the capacity of the cellular networks and would reinvigorate the business models for muni-WiFi networks. The USA is still regarded as the leading country in adopting WiFi services, accounting in 2010 for close to 70,000 public WiFi hotspots. It is estimated that the number of free WiFi hotspots will increase by approximately 15% during 2010, bringing the proportion of free public hotspots to more than half of the total. 

USA - Forecast mobile broadband users and mobile services revenue growth - 2011 - 2016
Year Mobile broadband users Mobile services revenue ($ billion)
2010 (BYE) 40,000,000 160
2011 60,000,000 175
2012 85,000,000 190
2013 110,000,000 215
2014 130,000,000 235
2015 150,000,000 250
2016 165,000,000 270
(Source: BuddeComm forecasts)
Note: BYE = Base Year Estimate.
Note: all dollar amounts are US$ unless otherwise stated.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Key Statistics
1.1 Country Overview
1.2 market
1.3 Wireless market
1.4 Broadband market
1.5 Internet market
1.6 Broadcasting market
2. Telecommunications Market - Key Developments
2.1 Impact of financial crisis on the industry
2.2 Digital media markets
2.3 VoIP
2.4 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
2.5 Municipal wireless networks
2.6 Smart Grids and Intelligent Energy Technology
2.7 VoIP regulation
2.8 Net neutrality
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Broadband policy and regulation framework
3.1.1 Federal policy
3.1.2 Network regulation overview
3.1.3 A utilities-based, trans-sectoral broadband infrastructure
3.1.4 Broadband stimulus package 2009 - Analysis
3.1.5 FCC’s National Broadband Plan 2010 - Analysis
3.1.6 Video franchise rules
3.2 Digital TV regulation
3.2.1 Franchise laws
3.2.2 Analogue switch-off
3.2.3 À la carte
3.2.4 TV white spaces decision
3.2.5 Spectrum efficiency
3.3 VoIP regulation
4. Fixed Network Market
4.1 Shrinking landline market
4.2 Consolidation
4.3 RBOCs, ILECs, CLECs and IXCs
4.4 Cable MSOs, VoIP and other competition
4.5 Analysis 2010/11
5. Major Operators
5.1 Overview
5.2 AT&T Inc
5.2.1 BellSouth Corporation (historical)
5.3 Verizon Communications
5.4 Qwest Communications
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Key highlights
6.2 Broadband market overview
6.3 Broadband market statistics
6.4 Cable MSOs versus Telcos
6.5 Analysis - 2010
6.6 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
6.6.1 Analysis - 2010
6.6.2 Overview
6.6.3 FttH network rollout
6.6.4 Choice of FttX technology
6.6.5 Public (ILEC, CLEC and Municipal) FttH networks
6.6.6 RBOC FttH roll-out
6.7 Fixed Wireless Broadband
6.7.1 WiFi
6.7.2 WiMAX
6.7.3 Satellite broadband
6.8 Cable broadband
6.8.1 Cable broadband overview
6.8.2 Cable broadband statistics
6.9 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.9.1 DSL overview
6.9.2 DSL statistics
6.10 Benchmarking broadband in the USA
6.10.1 Australia’s open National Broadband Network
6.10.2 Taking the blinkers off
6.10.3 The Australian broadband initiative
7. Intelligent Energy Technology - Smart Grids
7.1 Overview
7.2 Smart grids
7.2.1 Overview
7.2.2 Applications
7.2.3 Standards
7.2.4 GridWise
7.2.5 US smart grid stimulus
7.3 Smart meters
7.3.1 Overview
7.3.2 Customer access
7.3.3 Security risks
8. VoIP Market
8.1 Overview
8.2 VoIP statistics
8.3 VoIP technology in the US
8.3.1 Overview
8.3.2 History
8.3.3 IP telephony gateways
8.3.4 Value-added features
8.3.5 Hosted VoIP solutions
8.3.6 Circuit-to-packet network migration
8.3.7 IP-based private networks and computer telephony integration
8.3.8 Mobile VoIP
8.4 Major VoIP providers
8.4.1 Cable VoIP
8.4.2 Alternative providers
8.4.3 Telco VoIP
9. Digital Media / Digital Economy
9.1 Overview and analysis
9.2 US Internet development
9.2.1 Overview
9.2.2 ISP Market
9.2.3 Broadband development
9.2.4 Net neutrality
9.2.5 Internet trends and statistics
9.3 E-services
9.3.1 E-entertainment
9.3.2 E-health
9.3.3 E-government
9.3.4 E-education
9.4 Email
9.4.1 Spam, viruses and other malware
9.4.2 Anti spam legislation
9.5 E-commerce, m-commerce and online advertising
9.5.1 E-commerce
9.5.2 M-commerce
9.5.3 Online advertising
9.6 Digital TV Market - Broadcasting and IPTV
9.6.1 Background
9.6.2 Key trends
9.6.3 IPTV
9.6.4 Cable DTV
9.6.5 Satellite Direct Broadcasting Service (DBS)
9.6.6 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
9.6.7 Digital TV consumer products
10. Mobile Communications
10.1 Market overview and analysis
10.2 Market trends
10.2.1 Mobile broadband
10.2.2 Market consolidation
10.2.3 MVNO market
10.2.4 Prepaid market
10.3 Mobile statistics
10.3.1 Market statistics
10.3.2 Mobile carrier statistics
10.3.3 ARPU statistics
10.4 Mobile broadband developments
10.4.1 Third Generation mobile (3G)
10.4.2 LTE
10.4.3 Wi-Fi-enabled phones
10.4.4 WiMAX-enabled phones
10.5 Mobile data applications
10.5.1 Overview
10.5.2 Mobile Internet
10.5.3 Mobile music
10.5.4 Mobile TV
10.5.5 Mobile VOIP
10.5.6 Non-voice messaging
10.6 Major mobile operators
10.6.1 Overview and analysis
10.6.2 Statistics
10.6.3 Acquisitions and mergers
10.6.4 Verizon Wireless
10.6.5 AT&T Mobility
10.6.6 Sprint Nextel Corporation
10.6.7 T-Mobile USA
10.6.8 MetroPCS
10.6.9 US Cellular Corporation
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecasts - Broadband market to 2016
11.2 Forecasts - FttH market to 2016
11.3 Forecasts - VoIP market to 2015
11.4 Forecasts - Mobile Market to 2016
12. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Exhibites
Table 1 - Country statistics USA - 2010
Table 2 - Telecom revenue statistics - 2010
Table 3 - Major fixed line and wireless operators - 2010
Table 4 - National telecommunications authority
Table 5 - Internet user statistics - 2010
Table 6 - Broadband statistics - 2010
Table 7 - Fixed-line market statistics - 2010
Table 8 - Wireless subscribers, penetration and annual change - 2010
Table 9 - Wireless market ARPU, revenues, usage statistics and annual change - 2010
Table 10 - Wireless subscribers and annual change - 2000 - 2010
Table 11 - Mobile major operator market share - 2008 - 2009
Table 12 - Broadband subscribers, annual change, penetration - 2000 - 2010
Table 13 - US broadband penetration and OECD ranking - 2001 - 2010
Table 14 - Cable versus DSL, market share and subscriber growth - 2007 - 2009
Table 15 - US Internet users, annual change and penetration - 2000 - 2010
Table 16 - US average monthly web usage - 2008 - 2010
Table 17 - Top five online activities - 2009
Table 18 - Ten largest social networking sites and forums - 2010
Table 19 - Online US video usage - 2010
Table 20 - Broadcasting coverage, subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2009
Table 21 - Telephone network statistics - 2010
Table 22 - Revenue comparisons for major telcos - 2001 - 2009
Table 23 - AT&T revenue summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 24 - AT&T subscriber statistics - 2003 - 2009
Table 25 - AT&T segment operating revenues - 2007 - 2009
Table 26 - BellSouth revenue summary - 2000 - 2006
Table 27 - BellSouth Communications group operating statistics - 2001 - 2006
Table 28 - Verizon Communications financial summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 29 - Verizon Communications operating statistics - 2007 - 2009
Table 30 - Qwest revenue and net profit - 2000 - 2009
Table 31 - Broadband (fixed and fixed-wireless) subscribers and penetration - 2000 - 2010
Table 32 - Broadband (fixed and fixed-wireless) household penetration - 2000 - 2010
Table 33 - Broadband lines by major technology - 2005 - 2010
Table 34 - Top cable and DSL providers, subscribers and market share - 2009
Table 35 - Broadband subscribers and population penetration in selected OECD countries - 2001; 2009
Table 36 - USA broadband penetration and OECD ranking - 2001 - 2009
Table 37 - USA broadband speeds compared to top 5 OECD ranked countries - October 2009
Table 38 - Cable versus DSL, market share and subscriber growth - 2007 - 2009
Table 39 - FttH homes passed and connected - 2001 - 2010
Table 40 - FttH Video homes connected - 2001 - 2010
Table 41 - FttH market share by type of provider - 2006 - 2009
Table 42 - Non-RBOC and overall FttH take-up rates - 2002 - 2009
Table 43 - Top 10 countries - public free and pay WiFi hotspots - 2010
Table 44 - Top 10 US cities - WiFi hotspots - April 2010
Table 45 - Top 10 websites visited at WiFi hotspots - December 2009
Table 46 - Main online activities at WiFi hotspots - December 2009
Table 47 - US cable industry infrastructure expenditure - 2000 - 2009
Table 48 - Top 10 cable MSOs’ coverage, subscribers and penetration by technology - 2009
Table 49 - US cable modem subscribers and annual change - 2000 - 2010
Table 50 - Subscribers for top cable modem providers - 2003 - 2009
Table 51 - DSL subscribers - 2000 - 2010
Table 52 - DSL subscribers by major carrier - 2003 - 2009
Table 53 - VoIP subscribers of major providers - 2007 - 2009
Table 54 - Cable VoIP subscribers - 2003 - 2010
Table 55 - Worldwide Internet penetration by region - 2009
Table 56 - Number of ISPs in the USA - 2000 - 2010
Table 57 - Select OECD countries’ broadband penetration - 2001; 2009
Table 58 - Top ten ranking by country for Internet users - December 2009
Table 59 - Selected country comparison of monthly at-home Internet usage - 2007 - 2009
Table 60 - US Internet users, annual change and penetration - 2000 - 2010
Table 61 - Total monthly US online searches - 2004 - 2010
Table 62 - US average monthly web usage - 2008 - 2010
Table 63 - Top five online activities - 2009
Table 64 - Top 10 search providers and share of market - December 2009
Table 65 - Top ten US websites by parent company, audience and time spent - March 2010
Table 66 - Fastest growing web categories: visitors and monthly growth - March 2010
Table 67 - Top 10 US online gaming sites - March 2010
Table 68 - Online US video usage - January 2010
Table 69 - Top US online video sites statistics - January 2010
Table 70 - Ten largest US social networking sites and forums - February 2010
Table 71 - Source of spam by country - 2009
Table 72 - Zombie IPs by country - 2010
Table 73 - Top 10 countries hosting malware - 2009
Table 74 - Spam content pitched by category - 2010
Table 75 - Fastest growing e-commerce sectors - 2008 - 2010
Table 76 - Online retail sales and annual change - 2003 - 2009
Table 77 - Mobile banking users in the USA - 2007 - 2010
Table 78 - Online advertising revenues and annual change - 2000 - 2010
Table 79 - Online advertising revenue by category - 2008 - 2009
Table 80 - Online advertising revenues and market share of top three search providers - 2008 - 2009
Table 81 - Online advertising revenues share by industry category - 2008 - 2009
Table 82 - Broadcasting coverage, subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2009
Table 83 - Market shares of MSO, DBS and telco video segments - 2005 - 2010
Table 84 - Market shares of major MSO, DBS and telco video providers - 2005; 2007; 2009
Table 85 - Cable capex, customer and advertising revenues - 2000 - 2009
Table 86 - Basic cable and digital subscribers - 2000 - 2010
Table 87 - Top 20 cable MSOs ranked by subscribers and market share - 2009
Table 88 - Satellite DBS subscribers by major network - 2000 - 2010
Table 89 - DISH ARPU, churn and subscriber acquisition costs - 2005 - 2009
Table 90 - DIRECTV ARPU, churn and subscriber acquisition costs - 2005 - 2009
Table 91 - Prepaid subscriber numbers and market share - 2008 - 2009
Table 92 - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2008 - 2010
Table 93 - Mobile market ARPU, revenues, usage statistics and annual change - 2008 - 2010
Table 94 - Mobile subscribers and annual change - 2000 - 2010
Table 95 - Mobile market revenue, roamer revenue, ARPU and employees - 2000 - 2009
Table 96 - Number of cell sites - 1995; 2000 - 2010
Table 97 - Mobile subscribers by major operator - 2002 - 2009
Table 98 - Mobile major operator market share - 2008 - 2009
Table 99 - ARPU of major operators - 2008 - 2009
Table 100 - Customer churn rate of national carriers - 2001 - 2010
Table 101 - Average local monthly bill and average local call length - 2000 - 2009
Table 102 - Mobile revenues of major operators - 2000 - 2009
Table 103 - Mobile subscribers of major operators - 2002 - 2009
Table 104 - Mobile major operator market share - 2008 - 2009
Table 105 - ARPU of major operators - 2008 - 2009
Table 106 - Customer churn rate of national carriers - 2001 - 2010
Table 107 - Major acquisition and merger agreements - 1998 - 2009
Table 108 - Verizon Communications financial summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 109 - Verizon Wireless subscribers, churn, ARPU and revenue - 2001 - 2009
Table 110 - Alltel financial summary - 2000 - 2008
Table 111 - Alltel mobile subscribers, churn and ARPU - 2001 - 2008
Table 112 - AT&T Mobility financial summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 113 - AT&T Mobility PoPs, subscribers, penetration, churn and ARPU - 2000 - 2009
Table 114 - Sprint Nextel consolidated financial summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 115 - Sprint Nextel mobile subscribers, churn, ARPU and revenue - 2001 - 2009
Table 116 - T-Mobile revenue - 2000 - 2009
Table 117 - T-Mobile cell sites, subscribers, churn and ARPU - 2001 - 2009
Table 118 - MetroPCS financial summary - 2005 - 2009
Table 119 - MetroPCS subscribers, churn and ARPU - 2005 - 2009
Table 120 - US Cellular financial summary - 2000 - 2009
Table 121 - US Cellular cell sites, subscribers, churn and ARPU - 2000 - 2009
Table 122 - Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration - lower growth scenario - 2010 - 2016
Table 123 - Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration - higher growth scenario - 2010 - 2016
Table 124 - Forecast FttH homes passed, connected and penetration - lower growth scenario - 2011 - 2016
Table 125 - Forecast FttH homes passed, connected and penetration - higher growth scenario - 2011 - 2016
Table 126 - Forecast fixed VoIP and mobile VoIP users - lower growth scenario - 2011 - 2015
Table 127 - Forecast fixed VoIP and mobile VoIP users - higher growth scenario - 2011 - 2015
Table 128 - Forecast mobile broadband users and mobile services revenue growth - lower growth scenario - 2011 - 2016
Table 129 - Forecast mobile broadband users and mobile revenue growth - higher growth scenario - 2011 - 2016
Exhibit 1 - Definitions: DSL, cable and FttN/FttC broadband
Exhibit 2 - Status of RBOC fibre network build out
Exhibit 3 - Examples of non-RBOC FttH networks
Exhibit 4 - Comcast, Time Warner ands Cablevision New York City WiFi network
Exhibit 5 - Municipal WiFi for City of Minneapolis
Exhibit 6 - Examples of muni-WiFi business models
Exhibit 7 - White spaces for a smart city muni-WiFi network
Exhibit 8 - Sprint 4G on the Clearwire WiMAX network
Exhibit 9 - WiMAX for niche markets eg smart grid developments
Exhibit 10 - Cable broadband drives cable VoIP
Exhibit 11 - Smart grid applications
Exhibit 12 - First round stimulus grant recipient - Florida Power & Light Company (FPL)
Exhibit 13 - Second round stimulus grant recipient - The Battelle Memorial Institute
Exhibit 14 - The Pecan Street Project
Exhibit 15 - Energy East Advanced CAES Demonstration Plant
Exhibit 16 - Oncor (TXU) and the Current Group - Texas
Exhibit 17 - Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) - California
Exhibit 18 - VoIP pioneers - Net2Phone
Exhibit 19 - Components of network convergence
Exhibit 20 - Clear WiMAX opens mobile VoIP opportunities
Exhibit 21 - Major cable VoIP operators
Exhibit 22 - Major alternative VoIP developments
Exhibit 23 - Major telco VoIP developments
Exhibit 24 - Minnesota e-Health initiatives
Exhibit 25 - Microsoft, Covisint E-health initiative via A&T Healthcare Community Online
Exhibit 26 - Subway introduces SMS ordering

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