The wireless industry invested $30 billion in 2020 to power America’s world-leading wireless networks, according to CTIA’s 2021 Annual Wireless Industry Survey. This represents a five-year high and the third straight year of increasing capital expenditures, pushing cumulative industry investment over $600 billion.
As a result of billion-dollar investments, mobile speeds jumped 50% in the past year, 5G networks nationwide now cover over 300 million people, and 5G for home broadband services — capable of over 100 Mbps downstream — are deployed in communities across the country. Additionally, survey results also showed a 208% increase since 2016 in wireless data use, over 417,000 cell sites by end of 2020, and the rise of data-only devices to 190.4 million in 2020.
“These numbers show that while we were social distancing last year, US wireless providers were busy both ensuring that wireless networks handled skyrocketing demand and constructing 5G networks, the foundation for our country’s post-pandemic recovery,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA’s president and CEO.
CTIA’s comprehensive annual industry survey has tracked the evolution of the wireless industry since 1985. This year’s key findings show remarkable and sustained wireless investment, continued growth in wireless data demand, ongoing efforts of wireless providers in building the country’s infrastructure, and proliferation of IoT.