Home » The Wireless Industry’s Stalwarts Are Missing 10 Million Customers (and Are Set to Lose Even More)

The Wireless Industry’s Stalwarts Are Missing 10 Million Customers (and Are Set to Lose Even More)

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Last quarter was a mostly strong quarter for the US wireless industry. verizon (VZ 0.24%) Only 8,000 postpaid cell phone customers, AT&T (T 0.83%) When T-mobile (TMUS 0.45%) Adding 708,000 and 854,000 postpaid customers to the revenue mix more than offsets that weakness, respectively. Year-round growth is on track as well, with the three mobile phone players now collectively serving 230 million postpaid phone customers. Add to this figure the millions more prepaid and non-phone mobile his accounts.

But this is a number that could (and probably should have) been much higher, about 10 million customers. However, the craziest part of this shortage isn’t its size.it’s so crazy why The industry heavyweight is shy of 10 million potential customers. His top three wireless services in the country The competition that keeps his providers from attracting and retaining these customers isn’t really focused on his mobile services side of the business. For these competitors, it’s now just a side business.

Either way, given that these alternative providers are still growing, it’s a competition that T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T can no longer ignore.

Do they offer wireless service?

As of the end of the third quarter, comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), charter communication (Nasdaq: CHTR)When Artis USA (NYSE: ATUS) As of 2017, it has grown from zero to serve nearly 10 million wireless customers overall.

Data Sources: Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Altice USA. Chart by author.

That’s strange for obvious reasons.These are organizations that were built from the ground up as cable TV service providers. developed into an enterprise. However, as these connected networks have matured and upgraded, they have also become suitable for handling mobile phones.

For the record, there are some technical hurdles. While traditional mobile service providers such as Verizon and AT&T use networks of cell towers to provide seamless connectivity wherever their customers are, cable companies’ wireless connections are It relies heavily on the physical infrastructure of the region where it is located. Outside of these geographic areas, they all have to hand off these connections to traditional mobile carriers.

Still, Cable’s growing number of wireless customers suggests that these handoffs are seamless enough.

What other restrictions? For now, with the exception of Altice’s Optimum, cable TV and broadband Internet providers only offer mobile service as part of packages that include high-speed Internet service. Again, “unlimited” plans often start at $30 or less, so consumers have no problem paying for home broadband his service from the same provider.

too big to ignore

What started as an interesting experiment with the country’s top cable and broadband equipment has evolved further. Still, it could be a lot more than it is now.

Altice, Comcast’s Xfinity and Charter’s Spectrum currently serve approximately 67 million high-speed Internet subscribers. Most of them qualify for mobile service, and many of them are multi-consumer residences that may prefer multi-customer family phone plans. Given how much traction these unlikely wireless services have already gained, it suggests that this is the biggest competitive threat facing Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile right now. is not easy. And that’s against the backdrop of existing market saturation. Pew Research reports that 97% of his American adults already own a mobile phone, the vast majority of which are smartphones.

So connect the dots. The wireless market was no longer ready for growth. It is now even more crowded as alternatives to traditional mobile services become available and viable. There is no clear reason yet to sell any of them, but interested investors may want to part with all three shares until the answer (if any) to this unlikely threat becomes clear. not.It seems likely that it will come in an attractive form entertainment Connection bundles instead of markdowns.

james bramley I have a job at AT&T. The Motley Fool’s US headquarters recommends Comcast, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool Disclosure policy.

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