U.S. Mobile Business is Becoming Unstable

By Gary Kim August 08, 2012

There are growing signs that the U.S. mobile service provider market is unstable, and on the cusp of changes that could include a significant wave of provider restructuring, despite the failure of the AT&T bid to buy T-Mobile USA. 

"What is clear for now, in our view, is that the current strategy, indeed the entire current business, isn't working," said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Moffett seems to be referring to the whole business operated by regional U.S. wireless carriers. 

To be sure, Moffett has been saying that the U.S. mobile business is saturated since at least 2009. 

Regional or prepaid service providers clearly have had a tougher 2012 compared to the mid-2000s, for example. Leap hasn't been profitable since 2005, for example. MetroPCS profits dropped 63 percent during the first quarter of 2012.

A study undertaken by Tellabs suggests that mobile service provider profitability could become extremely challenging for some mobile operators within three years, with costs surpass revenue for many operators.

In North America that could happen by the fourth quarter of 2013 or as early as Q1 2013. Developed Asia Pacific service providers could see problems by the third quarter of 2014. In some cases this could happen as early as Q3 2013, Tellabs said. 

Service providers in Western Europe could run into trouble by the first quarter of 2015. In some cases this could happen as early as the first quarter of 2014.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

6 Insurance Companies Investing in Wearable Technology

By: Lindsey Patterson    6/27/2016

Wearable fitness devices are growing in popularity, Tech research firm Gartner says that sales will grow by 18.4 percent this year. Over the past seve…

Read More

Facebook Closes 50 Million Dollar Deal for Live Streaming

By: Andrew Bindelglass    6/24/2016

Facebook seems like it is ready to launch a fledgling version of Facebook Live in the near future, Osofsky said. "We have an early beta programm for a…

Read More

Twilio IPO: Bellwether or Blip for the API Business?

By: Doug Mohney    6/23/2016

San Francisco-based Twilio counts Uber, Open Table, and Nordstrom among its customers. In 2015, the company's revenues were around $167 million with a…

Read More

Brexit: The Whole World is Watching! Including Tech

By: Peter Bernstein    6/20/2016

It is hard to imagine a vote on something- even for those of us in the U.S. consumed and amazed by the daily barrage of presidential election year pol…

Read More

How Steve Jobs Would Fix Apple

By: Rob Enderle    6/20/2016

It is hard to see Apple in trouble. It has massive reserves and remains one of the most powerful brands in the market, yet every week seems to contain…

Read More