US Mobile Market Update – Q1 2023

Summary of US Mobile Market Q1 2023

After the best year in history, Q1 23 had a tough act to follow. One of the big questions in front of the industry was – will the growth taper off and what will be the implications?

The YoY revenue dipped into negative territory for the first time since the height of the pandemic in 1H 20. Service revenue barely stayed in positive territory and net-adds declined by 26%. Despite the slowdown, it was the fourth straight $50B quarter for the US.

China Mobile overtook T-Mobile as the most valued service provider in the world, but T-Mobile maintained its dominance in the US market with Comcast close behind.

AT&T had its sixth straight 5M+ net-adds quarter with Connected devices contributing to the bulk of its growth. Verizon again struggled with postpaid phone adds. T-Mobile added more postpaid net-adds than AT&T and Verizon combined.

Fixed wireless continues to be the bright star for 5G in the US. With almost 5M subs, the mobile operators are adding 90% of the broadband subs in the US. With the seasonal Q2 cord-cutting coming up, we are likely to see domination continue in the current quarter. T-Mobile again added more broadband customers than the rest of the major players combined.

For the third straight time, Charter went past Comcast in total mobile subs with cable provider total reaching almost 12M mobile subs. The cable companies have added more mobile subs than AT&T and Verizon combined in the last 4 out of 5 quarters with Q1 being their highest net-add quarter, exceeding a million net-adds for the first time. US Cellular and Dish continue to hemorrhage customers.

There was consequential movement in adjacent areas as we had predicted – fixed wireless, MEC, private networks, and new applications and services. T-Mobile is using its spectrum advantage to go after the low-hanging fruit of fixed wireless in certain markets while Verizon made investments in the MEC and private networks space. AT&T also continues to invest in the enterprise segment.

US picked up pace on the 5G front and kept its lead with China in percentage penetration. US has also outpaced China in 5G revenue by a significant margin. However, China has made significant strides in the 5G enterprise segment. So, the “5G race” is in the eye of beholder, depending on the dimension of comparison, you can find a different winner.

Topics covered in the research update.

  • Q1 2023 US Mobile Market Highlights
  • 2023: Change of Direction?
  • Tug of War: Broadband vs. Mobile
  • Opex: The Silent Killer
  • 5G and 4th Wave
  • US wireless market: Tier-2 Competition
  • Building Metaverse Ready Networks
  • Getting 6G Right
  • Global 5G Race Update
  • What to Expect in the Coming Months?
  • US Wireless Market Q1 2023 Analysis
    • Service Revenues
    • ARPU
    • Subscribers
    • Competition
    • 5G Progress
    • Fixed Wireless Progress
    • 4th Wave Progress
    • Connected Devices
    • Handsets

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