This morning, the U.S. FCC released statistics trending rates and expenditures for both wireless and wireline services.
Much of the findings reflected a comparision between 2005 and 2006. Nutshell: for wireline long distance, the rates are rising faster than the cost of living. That's for intrastate calls as well as interstate calls.
During 2006, the consumer price index (CPI) for wireline interstate toll service rose 5.1% and the CPI for intrastate toll service increased 3.3%, while the overall CPI rose 2.5%.
Wireless costs, however, are holding steady:
As to single line and rates, yes they are going up, but connection charges are going down. The FCC says the average rate paid by business customers for a single phone line was $45.31 in 2006, compared to $43.75 in 2005, an increase of 3.5%. The average connection charge for single-line business customers fell from $74.18 in 2005 to $72.26 in 2006, a decrease of 2.5%.
Residential customers? Like I said in this post's title, a slow climb.
The average rate paid by residential customers for unlimited touch-tone calling was $25.27 in 2006, compared to $24.64 in 2005, an increase of 2.6%. The average connection charge for residential customers increased to $42.92 in 2006 from $42.80 in 2005.
Update: A reader writes in to point out this important qualifier from the FCC report:
The increased availability and marketing of discount and promotional long distance plans, as well as the popularity of wireless “bucket-of-minutes” plans, has made basic schedule rates obsolete for many long distance customers, particularly business customers and high volume residential consumers. Today wireline, wireless, and cable companies are offering consumers bundled packages of local and long distance service, and buckets of minutes that can be used to call anyone, anywhere, and anytime.
The average revenue per minute of wireline long distance calling, which reflects rates paid by residential and business consumers, remained at 6 cents for the third consecutive year, and represents a decrease of 60% from 1992, when discount and promotional long distance plans were introduced.
Yes, but lets look at the short term. While these fees are not increasing at a furious pace, they may suggest the attractiveness of low paid VoIP for some business and residential customers.