Trend: Are US carriers inflating their subscriber numbers?

Are US carriers exagerating their subscriber numbers? Some analysts think so. Several US carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, and Sprint, have had stronger than expected subscriber growth this year. Reports about inflated subscriber numbers have made the news in Australia and other places, prompting some cynics to claim that the same thing may be happening in North America. Others, however, argue that the US wireless market has trailed the rest of the world for some time, and that the recent rush in subscriber numbers is just a sign of this delayed growth.

Another explanation for the growth has been a surge in the use of so-called family plans -- subscriber contracts that allow multiple users to have several lines under one account. The sudden growth of prepaid wireless is another factor some claim is driving subscriber growth.

For more on the controversy surrounding this year's subscriber growth numbers:
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