Wireless Infrastructure By the Numbers: 2022 Key Statistics

Executive Summary

Throughout the United States, wireless infrastructure keeps consumers and businesses connected, contributes significantly to the country’s productivity and propels America to become an increasingly mobile-first society. Wireless infrastructure comprises different types of towers, cell sites, antennas, radios and other equipment as well as fiber and data centers that enable cellular mobile networks, fixed wireless access, and in-building wireless networks. These networks use a wide range of spectrum including millimeter-Wave (mmWave), Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), C-Band, and other cellular bands.

This report quantifies the size of the nation’s wireless infrastructure sector, including cell towers, indoor and outdoor small cells, macrocell sectors, annual spending, and the American jobs that support this critical resource.

The U.S. wireless & mobile industry spent $11.9 billion building additional capacity and coverage into the nation’s wireless networks in 2022. This does not include spending on spectrum or maintenance and ongoing network operations.In total, network operating expenses for U.S. wireless and mobile networks in 2022 topped $46 billion.
The following key statistics show the strength of the U.S. wireless infrastructure industry at the end of 2022:

  • 142,100 cellular towers were in operation;
  • 209,500 macrocell sites, not including small cells, were deployed;
  • 678,700 macrocell sectors, not including small cells, were in operation;
  • 452,200 outdoor small cell nodes were in operation; and
  • 747,400 indoor small cell nodes were in use, including private CBRS networks, DAS, small cells and mmWave and other licensed frequency bands.

Deploying and operating this infrastructure translates into jobs: 401,100 people or full-time equivalents were employed in the U.S. to build, maintain and operate the nation’s wireless and mobile networks, supporting 4G/LTE, 5G, indoor and outdoor networks and private networks.As the numbers suggest, cellular towers and macrocell sites support more than one network operator. The efficiencies associated with colocation on U.S. wireless infrastructure has been a key reason for the success of the wireless ecosystem as a whole – this simply means that network equipment from multiple operators is deployed on the same physical tower, small cell or building. Colocation has many benefits, from improved economics to reduced environmental impact of infrastructure.