Fierce competition is to blame for analysts slashing Q1 estimates for all four major mobile network operators. First-quarter net results are due out by the end of the month, but wireless growth has been slower than expected, according to insiders at Jefferies.
In a report on FierceWireless, Jefferies rep Mike McCormack also explained that churn rates are up among Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint as the carriers look revamp their wireless offerings.
“It should come as no surprise that wireless remains fiercely competitive, with Q1 bringing the return of Verizon Unlimited, a revamped Unlimited offering at AT&T, new pricing promotions at Sprint, and the elimination of taxes/fees at T-Mobile. The net result is likely higher churn as well as near-term ARPU pressure given customer rightsizing and less overage revenue. All this aid what appears to be more than just a seasonally soft gross add quarter,” McCormack said.
The slow Q1 follows a turbulent close to 2016 and start to 2017. T-Mobile and Sprint both unveiled unlimited plans back in August, forcing Verizon and AT&T to announce unlimited offerings of their own in February 2017.
It remains to be seen if and how this increased carrier competition in the wireless market will bleed over to broadband. However, if history is any indicator, it’s safe to say that any fluctuations or slowdowns in the wireless sector will eventually give way to new opportunities down the road. Only time will tell when these opportunities rise to the surface. Until then, industry insiders will remain on alert.
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