U.S. cellular market up 30 percent in 1995; AT&T Wireless had top share

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- March 25, 1996 -- The U.S. cellular market grew 30 percent in 1995 as revenue reached $20 billion and the number of subscribers increased 36 percent to 32.1 million, an industry tracker reported Monday.

AT&T Wireless had the top market share with 16.6 percent and 5.35 million subscribers, followed by Southwestern Bell Mobile with 11.4 percent, the combined Bell Atlantic and Nynex operations with 10.4 percent, GTE Mobilenet at 9.4 percent and BellSouth Cellular at 8.9 percent.

Dataquest, a unit of Dun Bradstreet Corp., said it expects the market to continue to do well in the coming years.

"Continued strong growth in cellular, coupled with the introduction of the first broadband Personal Communications Services (PCS) network, has stoked the fires for an industry explosion in 1998," said John Ledahl, director of Dataquest's Personal Communications program.

"With this kind of energy charging it from the service provider segment, the demand for cellular and PCS will continue to grow for the rest of the decade."

Dataquest also said the cellular equipment market grew at a modest rate of 10.3 percent to $2.8 billion in 1995.

Clint McClellan, industry analyst in Dataquest's Personal Communications program, called the growth "surprisingsly moderate."

"Cellular carriers deployed just enough cells to keep up with new incremental subscribers," McClellan said. "They didn't spend any more money than necessary in 1995."

AT&T Network Wireless Systems, which is being split from AT&T to become Lucent Technology, led the cellular infrastructure market with 36.7 percent last year, followed by Ericcson at 27.3 percent and Motorola at 19.2 percent. Northern Telecom grew 43 percent in 1995 and its market share rose from 11.9 percent in 1994 to 15.6 percent in 1995.