William Ho

Telecom, research analyst, wireless sector, mobile sector
William Ho
Telecom, research analyst, Wireless Sector, Mobile Sector
Contributor since: 2014
Company: 556 Ventures
Not sure if it's a good move on Vodafone's part but it's a solution sell to MNCs. http://bit.ly/16fR94F
That's the point. All the speed claims tug at the heart of the customer. The ideal is the combination of speed and price for some people. Speed is again something we can all experience for better or worst. It's the easiest to get across and for people to grasp. Actually it's a combination of speed and latency. Reliability varies depending on environment (e.g., in a basement, garage, rural area).
Price competition will continue for T-Mobile and Sprint to drive gross additions. The big two (Verizon and AT&T) can sustain a price war far longer than the smaller ones.
Data plans do cost carriers from an operational and marketing cost viewpoint. The key is that these are promotional plans and not a permanent structural change. Sprint can offer unlimited data as a marketing differentiator for subscriber acquisition purposes. But as it is now, they suffer capacity issues because their thin piece of 1.9 GHz LTE spectrum bears their burden in most markets. Until they deploy their 800 MHz (another thin slice) and bigger swaths of 2.5 GHz LTE, high data usage impinges on their user experience. The key technically and operationally is that with more spectrum, capacity and speed improves the user experience.
Disagree on stable usage across the board month-to-month, without variance. As people know their ceilings are greater, they're free to use their devices more (e.g., connected tablets) and adding more devices to the account. This is the hope for carriers to offset potentially flat/declining ARPU/ARPA.
There is also a thought about WiFi in that all WiFi is not equal. It may be free or subscription but the speed can vary. For example free hotel internet is typically 3Mbps DL/1 Mbps UL and can change depending on the pipe the provider puts in. With today's LTE speeds, it far exceeds WiFi at times.
New info - Sprint just extended its Double Data promo today (10/1). It had to. http://bit.ly/1E01uOE
I hear you about service rep frustrations. Not to make light of your experience and for what it's worth - JD Power 1H14 findings: http://bit.ly/1wUbsMG
More investments coming for sure (e.g., Dreamworks rumors). It's likely component of his 300 year plan.
Tiny
Thanks for the comments. On the friend, any good smartphone user knows that WiFi should always be turned on to prevent situations like what you described.
T has move from a reactive approach in their. Mobile Share plan http://bit.ly/1e5volI
moves to now a proactive promotion to get TMo users.
VZW is still the biggest competitor, esp in enterprise accounts. LTE expansion is still on the drawing boards for every carrier and filling in to add capacity and adding speed with carrier aggregation is all planned.
Alas subsidies are coming around in China, "A first peek at the Chinese rate cards for Apple's new iPhones"
http://bit.ly/18t4hfU
"zero users the 4G network" - the TD-LTE that China Mobile runs is helped by having a halo product that will migrate existing 3G users (likely early adopters) to the faster network. Further because Apple is supporting those China Mobile LTE bands, the TD-LTE ecosystem will only benefit and stimulate competitors' device offerings and pricing. As such (maybe not in '13), feature phone customers can either take advantage of the lower priced 3G device offerings or upsell into the 4G devices.
"zero users the 4G network" - the TD-LTE that China Mobile runs is helped by having a halo product that will migrate existing 3G users (likely early adopters) to the faster network. Further because Apple is supporting those China Mobile LTE bands, the TD-LTE ecosystem will only benefit and stimulate competitors' device offerings and pricing. As such (maybe not in '13), feature phone customers can either take advantage of the lower priced 3G device offerings or upsell into the 4G devices.
A couple of points:
Verizon has bundled and offered integrated wireless billing to wireline bundles in the past so so called "quad play." The customer benefit other than an integrated bill was merely a $5/month discount. VZ execs have admitted that this bundle approach hadn't sparked switching from other wireless providers. The deal with the cable companies is to resell or lead gen wireless sales to VZW. Cable companies had tried wireless in the past with Sprint (Pivot) and it was a miserable failure. Cox tried to go it alone with a Cox offering and it was a miserable failure. Wireless is outside cable companies' core competences and that is why they ditched Sprint and went with the big wireless gorilla and sold their AWS spectrum to VZW. Yet cable companies do have a wireless (not cellular) strategy and it is in Cable WiFi.
It is still perplexing to understand after the bundles what the freedom to offer new services (e.g., enterprise) will look like. Perhaps there is a regulated(VZ)/unregulated (VZW)entity divide.
I looked at the links that stated Nokia is "going to sue" HTC but it was speculation. Aside from form factor and color choices, what other innovation overlaps are there? Both pride themselves on camera capability but this was already in play last year along with Samsung in the mix on that.
It may come down to price and branding considerations for the consumer unless the reps can explain each handset's true differences.
The Verizon Wireless "superior LTE network" in taking share may not be significant as many play it out. There's no doubt that switching will happen but it's unlikely to be significantly en masse. many of the legacy AT&T iPhone users are on an unlimited plan. Why leave for Verizon and lose that?
While many people focus on the size, don't forget the challenges with dissimilar networks and spectrum. Sprint is betting on PCS LTE while T-Mobile is going ahead with AWS LTE. Leap really doesn't have a clear LTE strategy otherwise they'd be pulling the trigger. Their only LTE market is is AWS-based. Then there is the demographic synergies or conflicts. Not an easy one to integrate well. Cautionary tale-Nextel.
While this makes sense logically, there is an element of premium pricing and market positioning that enters into the buying decision. Where the price-sensitive buyers are, they're at T-Mobile and unlimited prepaids (including Sprint Prepaid brands).
Coverage remains also a deciding factor. Though coverage may not be an issue with most Americans, a fuller 3G/4G coverage map helps the AT&T and Verizon Wireless cause.
Of course when you look at it, many consumers are going for the handset (model and price point) as their first decision point.