U.S. Wireless Subscriptions Surge Past 250 Million

Wireless subscribers in the U.S. have surpassed 250 million, according to a report released by industry group CTIA.

Cell phone subscriptions reached 250 million in just over 20 years and increased at a rate of 352 percent since 1997. In December 2002, the U.S. had 141 million wireless subscribers, 55 million in 1997, 11 million in 1992, and 91,600 in 1985, not long after mobile phones were introduced.

CTIA cites research from the FCC, which states 98 percent of Americans have at least four service providers to choose from. The same source reports mobile high-speed subscriptions increased by roughly 600 percent in 2006 to reach 22 million. Mobile wireless subscribers made up 60 percent of all new high-speed lines. Increased adoption in high-speed wireless lines signals the adoption of mobile Web applications.

CTIA is an international association serving the wireless telecommunication industry, representing carriers, manufacturers, and wireless Internet providers. The association gathered data on the U.S. subscriber base from carriers and other sources, including the FCC.

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