SAN DIEGO — For the first time ever, there are now more active wireless devices in the United States than there are people. With 327,577,529 active connections at the end of June, the United States currently averages nearly 1.05 devices for each of its 312,403,988 current residents, according to a new survey from CTIA.
Those 327 million subscriber connections generated service revenues of $164.5 billion in the 12-month period ending in June, according to CTIA’s Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey (PDF) of wireless service providers comprising 95.5% of all estimated subscriber connections.
And where’s all that money being spent? Cell sites, for starters. The American landscape was blanketed with 256,920 cell sites at the end of June, marking an annual growth rate of barely 2%. The biggest period of cell site expansion in the United States in recent memory took place over the six-month period ending in December 2008, when 21,658 new cell sites were added at a growth rate of nearly 9% in just those six months.
Cumulative capital investment from U.S. wireless service providers hit $322,732,059 in June and cumulative capital expenditures are currently increasing 9.3% year-over-year.
Service providers directly employed 243,239 employees in June, which is up 3.4% from the year-ago period, but also down 2.9% from the 250,393 employees on the rolls six months prior.
According to the survey, operators slashed the equivalent of 7,064 jobs over the six-month period from December 2010 to June 2011. Despite ongoing growth in connections and service revenues, carriers are still below the peak 268,528 employees they had in December 2008.