Continued Wireless Growth Forecasted To Displace Over 23 Million Access Lines Through 2006, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – OCTOBER 30, 2002 – Highly competitive calling plans and the convenience of mobile phones are prompting more and more consumers to replace their wireline telephone access with wireless access. IDC expects more than 23 million wireline access lines will have been displaced by wireless in the 12 years from 1995 to 2006, with 13 million lines displaced from 2002 to 2006. However, most of this growth will come from the displacement of secondary and additional lines while the number of users whose primary means of access is wireless will remain a small percentage of the total consumer market.


"As wireless carriers add incentives like 'free' minutes and long distance to their calling plans, they are becoming increasingly competitive with the price of landline services," said Scott Ellison, program director of IDC's Wireless and Mobile Communications service. "As a result, consumers have a viable alternative to adding a second wireline for their children or home office. This presents a significant market opportunity for wireless providers as consumers weigh their access options."

The youth and young adult market continues to represent the largest potential market for primary wireline displacement, as they already displace secondary lines at a disproportionately higher level than other demographic groups. IDC believes that most adult users who are amenable to going completely wireless have already done so and that the bulk of new wireless-only users will be young adults.

Inconsistent wireless service quality, inconsistent in-building coverage, and ingrained cultural behavior are substantial market inhibitors to large- scale wireless displacement of primary wireline access, generally outweighing the market drivers of convenience and pricing. Home access to the Internet presents another potential inhibitor, with less than a quarter of wireless users reporting home access to the Internet through a cable, DSL or satellite connection.

IDC's recently released Wireless Displacement of Wireline Access Lines Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2006 (IDC #28018) analyzes the wireless displacement of wired access lines, including a discussion of the market drivers and inhibitors. To purchase this document, call IDC's volume sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

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