Despite AT&T’s defeat, wireless deals will continue

AT&T has thrown in the towel on its acquisition of T-Mobile, which kept the mobile industry stalled through much of 2011 as experts, executives and consumer organizations waited to understand what a deal would mean. Now the industry can return to solving the spectrum question.

AT&T, Verizon Grudgingly Move Toward Openness

There’s a chance we have just witnessed a crucial — revolutionary, even — week for the U.S. wireless industry as major carriers open up their networks and businesses. Or we may just be seeing the nation’s two top network operators play their cards in a crafty effort to fend of regulators as the FCC increasingly signals its eagerness to intervene in an industry that has become a must-have means of communication for mainstream Americans.

There’s at least some truth in each scenario. Honestly, though, I’m not sure it matters.

Today in Mobile

The wireless industry has been under Washington’s microscope all week, and the posturing politicians aren’t goint to ease up any time soon. Most recently, some whining senators have prompted an FCC inquiry into handset-exclusivity deals. While there are real problems here — the plight of rural carriers, most notably — attempts to ban such agreements are simple-minded and, ultimately, wrong-headed. Would the Beltway do-gooders force Verizon to support Apple’s App Store, which cuts carriers out of download revenues, in order to offer the iPhone? Or, as Stacey at GigaOM asks, will they require OEMs to build several versions of each phone to support various networks, raising the price of handsets? Crusading against big business plays well with voters, though, so don’t expect the governmental activity to just fade away.

US Wireless Biz: By The Numbers

Some fun facts from CTIA’s mid-year 2007 survey results (Download PDF):

* At the end of first half of 2007, there were 243.4 million subscribers or about 10.4M net new additions. UBS Research estimates that number works out to about 80% penetration of the U.S. population, versus 77% at year-end 2006 and 73% at mid-year 2006.
* For the first half of 2007, CTIA survey pegged wireless revenues at $68.7 billion up 12% from last year.
* Data revenues continued to show robust growth of 63% and contributed roughly 15% to total revenues.
* Average revenue per user (ARPU) was $49.94.
* Minutes of use (MOU) per subscriber were 732. It all added up to 1.1 trillion minutes of talk. That’s a lot of yakking!
* In 1H 2007, the average local call’s length was 3.13 minutes.
* CTIA says wireless carriers added 14,747 cell sites in 1H07 which still doesn’t explain why call quality continues to suck on pretty much every network.