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CTIA Hopes Wireless Growth Can Influence Laws, Tax Rates

Fri, 05/30/2008 - 8:38am
Evan Koblentz

The CTIA, in a new report examining the United States and its five largest states, said the total value of wireless broadband and mobile voice services will exceed $427 billion by 2016 and will add $860 billion to the gross domestic product in the next 10 years.

The Increasingly Important Impact of Wireless Broadband Technology and Services on the U.S. Economy by IAG Research analyst Roger Entner is a follow-up to Entner’s 2005 report for Ovum, The Impact of the U.S. Wireless Telecom Industry on the U.S. Economy, officials explained.

Savings to the national economy from the largest states reached $10.1 billion in 2005 – with California at $3.5 billion; New York, $2.1 billion; Florida, $1.6 billion; Texas, $1.6 billion and Illinois, $1.3 billion.  By 2016, California may jump to $16 billion; New York, $9.6 billion; Florida, $7.8 billion; Texas, $7.6 billion and Illinois, $5.8 billion.

Although based on 3-year-old research, “It’s still the most recently available data.  I was surprised when it improved so significantly, solely on the uptake that was stronger than what we saw before,” Entner said.  It’s also surprising how the growth is similar across those states despite each state’s vastly different economic drivers, he said.

CTIA spokesman Joe Farren noted that these states are doing well at contributing to the national economy even in the presence of the nation’s highest telecommunications tax rates, but that much more could be accomplished.  “We have always maintained that is a barrier, frankly, for wireless broadband.  One of the things we want to say is if we can address that barrier, man, these numbers can even be higher,” he said.

Plenty of research studies already cover who buys wireless technology and why, but there needs to be more such coverage of the technology’s impact on the economy, especially in the context of each state having different laws and tax rates, Farren said.  “I think this study hopefully will begin that conversation,” he added.  “These are national, if not international business models [so] we support one set of policies for the whole nation.

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