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At the end of 2007 (the latest data) the US Federal Communications Commission estimates there were 263 million wireless subscribers (almost 2.3 subscriptions per household in the US). Subscribers used an average of 769 minutes per month, generating US$0.06 average revenue per minute for all traffic ($0.05 for voice traffic). The FCC also estimates that 14.5 percent of US households received their primary service exclusively through a wireless phone. A related revolution has largely gone unnoticed. Since 1994, the US has assigned spectrum for mobile telephony through auctions instead of the traditional regulatory mechanisms. The transition from analog to digital television freed up additional spectrum, giving the FCC the opportunity to set up an auction in the 700-MHz range. That spectrum auction ended in March 2008. The spectrum will go into use in June 2009, after analog television retires.
Date of Publication: May-June 2009