Quick stat today as everyone takes off for the weekend. According to CTIA, wireless penetration in the USA as of June 2011 was 102.4%. As a comparison, 92% of the U.S. uses email (average email accounts per person ~3.5), and ~50% uses Facebook.

Maybe I am missing something here, but the stat description is: “# of active units divided by the total U.S. and territorial population (Puerto Rico, Guam, and the USVI).” Now, assuming that a certain percentage of the U.S. population (like people less than age 4) is not of cell phone owning age (when do they start counting people as population anyway?), I am lead to believe that this 102.4% number can only get higher.

This blows my mind. That means that in the U.S. the average person owns more than one cell phone. Please use them wisely (unlike that bus driver).

Some other stats from the CTIA study:

  • 322.9M Subscriber connections (up 147% from 2006)
  • 29.7% Wireless only households (up 283% from 2006)
  • 2.25 trillion annual minutes used (up 134% from 2006)
  • 196.9 billion monthly text messages (up 1575% from 2006)
  • 398 thousand calls made per day (up 153% from 2006)

Have a good weekend everyone.

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4 Responses to Wireless Penetration At 102.4% in the USA

  1. Esther Hsu says:

    That’s an amazing statistic. I technically own more than one cell phone myself… All the more reason for companies to move into the mobile space, especially in SMS marketing. Although smartphone penetration is growing quarter by quarter, there are still many users who do not own one and probably never will (like most of my own family members). However, they still love to get notifications for deals/coupons from the favorite retailers. How can you reach both smartphone and non-smartphone user? SMS, of course!

    Having worked in wireless retail, I have come across many smartphone users don’t even really know how to use the “smartphone” features/functionality on their smartphones (some who are even on their second round of smartphones after a contract renewal). Top questions from those users are still:

    1. How do I make a phone call?
    2. How do I send/read text messages?

    Just my 2 cents! :)

  2. Carl Eppolito says:

    2 things:

    1. why would people owning 2 or more phones be counted multiple times? If a person has a mobile (whether 1 or more) then that person is already “penetrated”. Makes no sense, to me, to have > 100% penetration because a mobile user with multiple phones is no more 1 person than a mobile user with 1 phone.
    2. “That means that in the U.S. the average person owns more than one cell phone.” This is not true. For instance, based on the “double counting” (see #1), it is totally possible to get 102% “penetration” based on 300 people owning 1 million phones each (based on a US population of 300m).

  3. Carl Eppolito says:


    Some people have a blackberry for work and a personal iPhone. If you are an app developer knowing this is relevant as if you are building a enterprise app that particular person would be a BB user and not iPhone and vice versa if you were building a personal app. If you are an OEM you want to know this as well….

    For our messaging world, yes >100% penetration way of looking at data is not as relevant.

  4. KaneRussell says:

    Quick stats update that serves as a proxy:  An informa 2012 (www.informa.com) study found that mobile penetration in Brazil is 118%, Argentina 142% and Uruguay 130%. People love their mobile phones. 

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