November 09, 2010 11:08 ET

US Broadband Subscribers Will Reach 98 Million by 2014

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - November 9, 2010) - has announced the addition of Business Monitor International's new report "United States Telecommunications Report Q4 2010" to their collection of Wireless market reports. For more information, visit

Verizon Wireless intends to reach 100mn Americans with its LTE coverage by the end of 2010, announcing at a recent communications conference that 30 NFL cities (cities with NFL franchises) would be connected to the 4G technology by the end of 2010. AT&T plans on launching its own commercial lLTE network by mid-2011, a significant acceleration of its previous launch plans. Meanwhile, both operators along with T-Mobile USA, have been enhancing and augmenting their 3G networks with software-based upgrades, meaning that faster data processing and transmission speeds have been rolled out very quickly and with no disruptions to the networks.

Sprint Nextel was able to reverse a long-term trend of losing subscribers with significant increases in wholesale and prepaid customers, due to newly acquired MVNO Virgin Mobile and Common Cents Mobile, a flat-rate prepaid service available in about 700 Walmart stores. Higher-ARPU post paid subscribers continue to decline. However, the postpaid quarterly churn rate was below 2% for the first time in five years. Sprint remains committed to its WiMAX-based 4G network, which has expanded to more markets. Sprint's handsets have been popular, scoring a surprise hit with its EVO WiMAX handset, even against the backdrop of Apple/AT&T's unveiling of a fourth generation iPhone. More recently, Sprint's dual 3G/4G phone, the Samsung Epic 4G, were launched in early September with one of the best first-day sales of any Sprint device.

Sprint's WiMAX partner, Clearwire, intimated that it would be interested in migrating to LTE once its exclusivity with WiMAX developer Intel comes to an end. Were Sprint to replace its WiMAX plant with LTE, this could be a costly move; instead, it is possible that a Sprint/Clearwire LTE platform would operate alongside WiMAX. Nevertheless, the WiMAX business posted a strong 94% y-o-y increase in customers in Q110.

Broadband take-up continues to grow robustly, although our forecasts have been reined in slightly. The growth has been led by the larger fixed-line telecoms operators and the multiservice cable operators. There were 77.9mn broadband subscribers by the end of 2009, a figure that grew to more than 79.5mn by June 2010. AT&T and Comcast continue battling to lead the market, and Comcast overtook AT&T inQ309. The gap has consistently widened in the nine months that have followed. We now expect there will be 98.0mn total broadband subscribers in the US by 2014, with a penetration rate of more than 30%.

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