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TIA Releases 2013 MR&F: For First Time, U.S. Consumers Spent More on Mobile Data than on Voice; Mobile Penetration Topped 100%

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leading association representing the high tech manufacturers and suppliers of information and communications technology (ICT), today released its 2013 ICT Market Review & Forecast (MR&F). Among the key findings in the report is that in 2012, for the first time, U.S. wireless data spending topped wireless voice spending, and U.S. wireless penetration surpassed 100 percent of the adult population.

The MR&F provides the industry's most comprehensive data review and analysis, with forecasts through 2016, of domestic and international spending and usage of wireless and wireline communications, specialized services (cloud computing, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, cybersecurity, etc.), enterprise networks and more.

“The 2013 MR&F reveals, in dramatic fashion, that the ICT industry is squarely in the middle of an historic transition,” said TIA president Grant Seiffert. “Wireless had a breakthrough year in 2012, with Americans spending more on mobile data than on voice services and with wireless subscriptions now outpacing the number of U.S. adults. In the years ahead, wireless infrastructure investments will continue surging in order to meet the heavy demand for mobile data. At the same time, specialized services will put even more steam into the ICT market. This expansion will lead to another unprecedented shift – in which telecom spending grows faster in the U.S. than in international markets.”

The 2013 MR&F shows that the global ICT industry continues to be challenged by the accelerating demand for mobile data. As a result, mobile infrastructure spending will accelerate in the next four years. The 2013 MR&F also predicts that in 2014, overall telecommunications spending growth will increase faster in the U.S. than internationally, reversing a trend that dates back to at least 2007. The U.S. growth is being driven by accelerating demand for specialized services, most notably cloud computing, M2M and cybersecurity.

The MR&F is compiled annually by TIA and provides a global industry overview along with chapters that offer a deep-dive into specific industry segments. This year’s MR&F also features a new “Major Trends” chapter, providing in-depth analysis of significant developments.

Mobile: A Breakthrough Year

In 2012, for the first time in the history of U.S. mobile telecommunications, more money was spent on mobile data services ($94.8 billion) than on mobile voice services ($92.4 billion). TIA predicts this trend will accelerate in the years ahead – with mobile data spend hitting $118.6 billion in 2013 (versus $86.4 billion for voice) and $184 billion by 2016 (versus $70.1 billion for voice).

Additionally, U.S. wireless penetration jumped over 100 percent in 2012 – rising to 102.5 percent for the year. TIA predicts that wireless carriers will add 40.3 million subscribers over the next four years, for a penetration of 111.3 percent in 2016.

To accommodate data traffic growth, carriers are upgrading their networks, sending wireless infrastructure spending higher. In 2012, U.S. wireline spending was $39.1 billion, compared with $27 billion for wireless infrastructure. By 2016, wireline spending is expected to climb to $44.4 billion, while wireless will reach $38.4 billion.

Meanwhile, overall spending on both wireless and wireline infrastructure will total $313 billion over the next four years (2013-2016) according to TIA estimates – an increase of 34 percent over the previous four years (2009-2012).

Overall Industry Growth: U.S. Will Soon Outpace International

The overall telecommunications industry experienced 7 percent worldwide growth in 2012, down 3 percent from 2011. While growth actually accelerated in the U.S. (from 5.9 percent in 2011 to 6.2 percent in 2012), international markets saw a declining growth (11.3 percent versus 7.2 percent).

TIA sees this trend continuing, with the overall industry growth rate in the U.S. surpassing growth in international markets in 2014. The MR&F predicts U.S. growth rates of 7.1 percent in 2013 and 6.8 percent in 2014, while international markets will see rates of 7.9 and 6.5 percent, respectively.

Cloud, M2M and Cybersecurity Becoming Huge Drivers

There is a common theme behind the strong growth in these three areas – the desire for more efficient and cost-effective implementation of ICT technologies. The MR&F predicts all three areas will see double-digit percentage growth rates over the next four years. M2M will lead the way, with a combined average growth rate of 57.2 percent over the next four years. Cloud services will see a combined average growth rate over the next four years of 16.3 percent, after achieving 20.5 percent in 2012, while cybersecurity spending growth rates are expected to remain steady, for a combined average growth rate of 19.2 percent.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents manufacturers and suppliers of global communications networks through standards development, policy and advocacy, business opportunities, market intelligence, and events and networking. TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members' products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment, and entertainment. Visit tiaonline.org for more details.

TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and is a proud sponsor of ANSI’s Standards Boost Business campaign. Visit www.standardsboostbusiness.org for details.

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