Wireless Telecommunications Carriers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 8,300 wireless telecommunications carriers develop, manage, operate, and maintain switching and transmission facilities that provide communications through the airwaves. Wireless telecommunication is the transmission of voice and data through electromagnetic signals that enable users to communicate through various devices, such as cellular phones. Major service categories include wireless voice, wireless data, wireline (landline), broadband, media, and security. Firms may also sell communications devices, like smartphones and tablets.

Ongoing Capital Intensity

Wireless communication is capital-intensive and requires a significant investment in spectrum and network infrastructure.

High Industry Concentration

The US wireless telecommunications industry is virtually an oligopoly that is dominated by a handful of large companies.

Industry size & Structure

The average wireless telecommunications carrier employs about 11 workers and generates over $37 million annually.

    • The wireless telecommunications carrier industry consists of about 8,300 firms that employ 93,000 workers and generates over $310 billion annually.
    • The industry is highly concentrated; the top 50 companies account for over 95% of industry revenue.
    • AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are the top wireless carriers in the US. National carriers support international wireless communications services, primarily through agreements with foreign carriers. Operations outside of the US are limited.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Wireless Telecommunications Carriers Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              May 20, 2024 - Prices Unchanged
                              • Wireless telecommunications carriers kept their prices unchanged during the first quarter of 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Wireless telecommunications carrier industry employment decreased slightly during the first quarter of 2024, according to the BLS. Wireless telecommunications carrier sales are forecast to grow at a 2.56% compounded annual rate from 2024 to 2028, slower than the growth of the overall economy, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                              • Nearly 40% of US telecom companies getting federal support to remove equipment made by Chinese telecoms firms Huawei and ZTE need additional government funding, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Removing the equipment from American wireless networks to address security risks is estimated to cost $4.98 billion but Congress has only approved $1.9 billion for the "rip and replace" program. The Bident administration sought another $3.1 billion in October 2023 to further fund removal of equipment made by Chinese telecoms giants but Congress has not acted.
                              • Global smartphone shipments decreased 3.2% year over year to 1.17 billion units in 2023, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The lowest full-year volume in a decade was driven largely by macroeconomic challenges and elevated inventory early in the year, according to IDC. Growth in the second half of the year has boosted confidence in an expected recovery in 2024. The fourth quarter of 2023 saw 8.5% year-over-year growth and 326.1 million shipments, higher than the forecast of 7.3% growth.
                              • Decreasing smartphone sales have wireless telecommunications carriers turning to price increases and premium service plans to boost profits, according to The Wall Street Journal. AT&T, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Communications made more money from providing wireless services in Q3 2023 compared with the same period in 2022 as they added phone lines and nudged many clients toward more expensive plans. “Customers are holding on to their phones longer,” said Tony Skiadas, finance chief for Verizon, the country’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers. “I don’t think that’s going to change.”
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