US cellphone penetration close to 70%

According to a report released by the CTIA, mobile network carriers were able to add 25.7 million new customers to their subscriber base during 2005. The total number of estimated wireless customers climbed 14.2% from 182.1 million to 207.9 million by December of 2005. Within the first three months of this year, the industry was able to add another 4.2 million customers, which brings the current number of subscribership to 212.1 million.

CTIA president Steve Largent said that, statistically, almost seven out of ten Americans already own a cellular phone.

According to the survey, revenues from wireless data services jumped more than 86% in the past year. Sales amounted to more than $8.58 billion in 2005, up from $4.60 billion in 2004. SMS/Text Messaging surged in popularity with more than 48.7 billion messages being sent during the sixth-month period ending December 2005. This represents a 97% increase from the last sixth months of 2004, when 24.7 billion messages were sent, the CTIA said.

Traditional voice call volume also increased. According to the CTIA, US cellphone users consumed nearly 1.5 trillion wireless minutes in 2005, up 36% from 1.1 trillion minutes in 2004.

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