If you want to know what is happening in the U.S. communications business, there really are only a handful of companies one has to follow. That doesn’t mean the thousands of firms selling communication services do not matter, only that just a small number of companies represent the overwhelming number of customer accounts and revenue.

AT&T, for example, alone has more than 100 million mobile subscribers and 42 million fixed-line accounts, for a total of 142 million. AT&T has 142 Million Consumer Accounts

Verizon has about 106 million mobile customers and something in excess of 15 million voice customers, for a total somewhere in excess of 121 million. The issue is that Verizon has many customers who may buy only FiOS Internet access or FiOS video but not voice.

Sprint has perhaps 50 million subscribers, T-Mobile USA 33 million.

Comcast has perhaps 23 million customers, DirecTV 19 million, Dish Network 14 million and Time Warner Cable perhaps 12 million.

The point is that one doesn’t have to track many firms to capture sufficient data on where the market is going.

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