Washington D.C. – The growth rate of wireless-carrier revenues accelerated in 2012, CTIA-The Wireless Association found in its semi-annual carrier survey.
The CTIA said this was due to continued growth in cellular subscriber connections and because average revenues per unit rose following a four-year slide.
The association also found a continued rise in the ownership of smartphones and wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems (see chart), helping boost the cellular penetration rate to 102 percent. Growth in other wireless M2M applications, such as telematics systems, also helped push the penetration rate above 100 percent.
In 2012, carrier revenues grew 9 percent to $185 billion in 2012 following 6.2 percent growth in 2011 and 4.8 percent growth in 2010. Average revenue per unit hit $48.73 in December 2012 compared to $46.11 in December 2011, $47.36 in 2010, $47.74 in 2009, and $49.04 in 2008.
As for new subscriptions, carriers gained 10.5 million net new subscriptions in 2012 compared to 19.7 million in 2011, 10.6 million in 2010, 15.3 million in 2009, 14.9 million in 2008, and 22.4 million in 2007.
The survey also found:
*The number of prepaid and pay-as-you-go subscribers grew 6.6 percent to 76.4 million, or 23.4 percent of all subscribers.
*Wireless-data traffic grew 69.3 percent to 1.468 trillion megabytes.
*The number of smartphones in use rose 36.4 percent to 152.1 million.
*The number of wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems grew 10.2 percent to 22.3 million.
*Voice minutes of use rose a mere 0.2 percent to 2.2999 trillion minutes.
*the number of text messages sent and received fell 4.9 percent to 2.19 trillion, presumably because of the growing use of social-media applications.
*and the number of multimedia messages sent and received fell 41 percent to 74.5 billion.
For its semi-annual survey, CTIA polls carriers and gets responses from carriers serving 97 percent of all estimated wireless subscriber connections. CTIA then develops an estimate of total wireless connections.