Mobile broadband's popularity squeezing fixed-line competitors, report says

Since 2005, mobile wireless has accounted for greatest number of new U.S. broadband subscribers and now serves some 60 percent of U.S. residential broadband connections, according to a new report released by the Internet Innovation Alliance.

"With LTE speeds now much higher than the fixed speeds consumers actually use, mobile wireless is both growing the broadband access market and providing a competitive alternative for some consumers," said the report, authored by telecom industry analyst Anna-Maria Kovacs.

Kovacs estimates that 95 percent of U.S. residents have access to mobile broadband speeds of 10 Mbps or higher now that Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) aggressive LTE rollout covers about 300 million POPs.

"With AT&T's (NYSE:T) LTE deployment reaching 270 million Americans by year-end 2013 and 300 million Americans by mid-2014, that number will be even higher, assuming the two networks do not overlap completely. And, of course, that means that at least 95 percent of Americans will have access to at least two competing mobile wireless broadband networks within a year. Once T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE:S) complete their LTE buildout to the roughly 225 and 200 million Americans that they have, respectively, committed to cover, about 60 percent-70 percent of Americans will have access to between three and four LTE networks," said the report.

Kovacs also cited research from Nomura showing that between January 2011 and June 2013, ILECs lost 11.6 million voice lines, of which 9 million were picked up by wireless, while only 2.6 million went to cable.

The report's main goal is to argue that current telco regulations which prioritize maintenance of existing POTS (plain old telephone service) networks are actually hobbling innovating by diverting investment away from IP-based broadband services. About 95 percent of U.S. residents use wireless, VoIP, cable and other non-regulated methods, leaving only 5 percent on POTS networks.

The alliance is reportedly funded in large part by AT&T and is known to push the operator's agenda on deregulation, according to Ars Technica.

For more:
- see the report here (PDF)
- see this FierceTelecom article
- see this Verizon blog post
- see this Ars Technica article

Related articles:
Wireless broadband network investments will create 1.2M jobs over 5 years, report says
Report: Broadband cord cutting proves perceived value of mobility
Pew: One-fourth of teen smartphone users are cell-mostly Internet users
Can Gen Y keep mobile broadband from a fiscal cliff?
Pew: 56% of U.S. mobile users access the Internet via handsets
LTE beating out FTTH in Japan
FCC cites knowledge gaps in estimating mobile broadband availability
Policymakers need to make mobile technology a priority
Mobile, not home, broadband is winning the people's hearts
TechNet: Smartphones bad, home broadband good

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