@ CTIA: ‘Mobile Life’ Is This Year’s Theme, But Honestly It’s All About The Economy

At this morning’s opening keynote, CTIA’s President and CEO Steve Largent addressed a packed auditorium with optimism, by providing numbers on how much the industry is growing. Last year, he said the number of wireless minutes used hit 2.2 trillion, growing by 100 million minutes over the year ago period. Text messages jumped to 1 trillion, almost triple the traffic in 2007. Revenues too reached a new high of $149 billion. Robert Dotson, CTIA’s Chairman and CEO of T-Mobile USA, and Verizon’s Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg, also addressed the economy in their speeches, by calling for more innovation.
Dotson urged that the wireless innovation could help contribute to a U.S. economic turnaround. Dotson: “These are tough times, and we are all eager to move to more brighter and prosporous times…and we have a chance to be the driving force in getting the US economy off the ground.” He said he attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration, where he was moved by Obama’s quote that said, “Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than a couple of weeks ago.” Dotson: “No group of people is better to answer that call then the people in this room.” He said there’s three ways to do that: by preserving and promote the entrepreneurial environment; by investing in high-speed broadband communications; and lastly by demonstrating how we care for the individual customers.
Seidenberg had a similar message,. He said the U.S. wireless carriers invested $20 billion last year, and infrastructure and handset manufacturers invested even more. “Innovation and competition is thriving, and a new business model is evolving…, an outcome that will be hugely important for our country.” He said the industry can easily grow…Nielsen reports that people spend five hours a day watching TV and one hour online, while U.S. wireless consumers used their phone only 26 minutes a day. “If we just get some of that to migrate to mobile we have a lot of headway to grow.” He also stressed increasing mobile high-speed wireless broadband. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has aggressive goals to build out 4G “wireless innovation and plans to build out 20 to 30 markets in 2010. “Wireless has been a foundation of our country’s prosperity, and I’m confident our industry will be a leader as we put our country back on a path of growth.”