A Snapshot of NTCA Members' Wireless Successes

By Joshua Seidemann, Vice President of Policy, NTCA
February 07, 2017

NTCA members continue to make advances in bringing wireless service to their customers, despite the numerous inherent obstacles, according to the just-released NTCA 2016 Wireless Survey Report.

One-half of survey respondents are currently providing wireless service to their customers. Of those, 89% are offering fixed broadband, 41% fixed voice, 39% mobile broadband, and 36% mobile voice.

Of those not currently offering wireless service, 17% are currently considering doing so, 62% have considered it in the past and deemed it not feasible, and 21% have never considered offering wireless.

Fifty percent of survey respondents hold a 3650–3700 MHz license, 35% a lower 700 MHz license, 29% an 800 MHz license and 27% an AWS license.

Survey respondents have invested considerable resources in their wireless operations. The median total (cumulative) investment in wireless facilities, excluding spectrum, is $1.2 million, and the median total (cumulative) investment in spectrum $65 thousand.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents cited competition from national carriers as a significant concern, an equal percentage cited the ability to make necessary investments. Four percent of survey respondents characterized the process of obtaining financing for wireless projects as “virtually impossible,” 17% as “very difficult,” 44% as “somewhat difficult,” 22% as “relatively easy,” and 13% as “very easy.”

One-third of respondents have at one time been hindered in their ability to provide wireless service due to the actions of a national wireless carrier.

Forty-three percent of respondents utilize unlicensed spectrum to serve their customers; of those, 68% have experienced difficulties with interference and/or line of sight issues.

The latest edition of the annual survey was conducted in the late fall of 2016. One hundred and seven member companies responded.


Written by Rick Schadelbauer