US Mobile Market Update – Q1 2019

Highlights of the US Mobile Market Q1 2019

  • Q1 2019 started on a good note for the industry with positive QoQ growth in Q1 for the first time in five years.
  • There was an unusually sharp decline in mobile device revenues almost dropping by 6%.
  • The non-phone net-additions touched the highest share in the history of the US market.
  • Postpaid revenue again ticked up thanks to the absence of price wars.
  • T-Mobile-Sprint merger is making its way through the regulatory approval process. (see more discussion below). The merger has implications on the US 5G roadmap.
  • Verizon and AT&T launched their versions of 5G and kicked off the competitive frenzy that will only increase in 2019. Sprint is readying its launch in a few days while T-Mobile has been upgrading the network for launch later this year.
  • The 5G discussions are getting louder and more substantive with each passing day. However, it is the first “G” transition when net-revenues is under pressure, so it presents a unique set of issues to the industry. Unlike previous generations, 5G has also spilled into the geo-political tussles.  (more 5G commentary below)
  • AT&T added the greatest number of connections to their network, however, they almost entirely came due to connected devices.
  • T-Mobile again added a bulk of industry’s postpaid subs.
  • The gap between T-Mobile’s postpaid LTV and that of Verizon has been widening for the last few quarters. AT&T still has the industry leading LTV.
  • AT&T also added the most number of connected cars for the year in the history of the industry. Its total tally stands at almost 32M connected vehicles. AT&T has now added more than 1.5M cars to its network for the 9th straight quarter.
  • Smartphone penetration stood at 95%.
  • Connected wearables continued to grow at a good pace in Q1 continuing the surprisingly good run in 2018.
  • Comcast and Charter added more postpaid subs than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint combined.
  • The quarter continued to see the decline in tablets indicating waning interest from consumers in the segment. In aggregate, operators haven’t added a new tablet sub in the last 11 quarters. This might have implications to the 5G strategy for OEMs.
  • While the operators struggled to maintain growth, the overall wireless market is growing rapidly thanks to the continued explosion on the 4th Wave by new digital players.
  • Industry capex is expected to grow slower than expected in 2019 though a lot will depend on the competitive dynamics in 1H19 and operators may yet boost their spend beyond the current guidance. Infrastructure vendors are benefiting from the current 5G cycle.
  • The overall industry upgrade cycle is over 3 years now.
  • In the race to a trillion, Microsoft became the second company after Apple to touch the milestone. Amazon is likely to be the first one to the $2 Trillion landmark barring the impact of potential regulations.
  • The average data consumption in the US is likely to go past 10 GB/mo by the end of 2019.

Other topics covered in the research update:

  • Connected Intelligence 2030
  • So, how is 5G doing? – A status report
  • 4th Wave drives the US market to a trillion dollars
  • 5G Maturity Model: Is 5G a race?
  • Does Edge Computing need 5G?
  • Realizing the promise of 5G
  • 5G: Fixing the disconnect between 5G technology and finance
  • 5G Policy Recommendations for Governments, Regulators and the Ecosystem
  • The rise of smartwatches and the decline of cellular tablets
  • 5G and the Industry Verticals
  • Revenue models for 5G
  • 5G – Known Knowns and Known Unknowns
  • Will T-Mobile/Sprint merger go through? An Update
  • The biggest telecom policy failure of the west
  • What to expect in the coming months?
  • US Wireless Market Q1 2019 Analysis
    • Service Revenues
    • ARPU
    • Subscribers
    • 4th Wave Progress
    • Connected Devices
    • Handsets

Your feedback is always welcome

Chetan Sharma

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