Prepaid Wireless Users in U.S. Top 100 Million, Report Says

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Prepaid mobile phone products sit on display at a Family Dollar Stores Inc. location in Sterling, Illinois.

As the economy continued to sputter, the number of prepaid wireless services users in the U.S. topped 100 million for the first time in the second quarter, according to a report from analyst Chetan Sharma. The prepaid sector — where customers don’t have to sign contracts with carriers — grew 12 percent compared with a year ago, he said.

Other parts of the mobile services industry rallied as well. Although it’s much larger now, the market for wireless data is growing at almost the same pace as a year ago. Revenues from U.S. mobile data services grew 19 percent to $19.3 billion in the second quarter, compared with $16.2 billion a year ago. Back then, the market had grown 22 percent from the previous year.

U.S. carriers added almost 400,000 postpaid subscribers, largely due to Verizon Wireless. The connected devices segment, which includes tablets and electric meters connected to wireless services, grew 21 percent year over year.

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