Maybe U.S. Mobile Marketing War Mostly is Harming Prepaid Service Providers
When observers cannot agree what is happening in the mobile business you can surmise that something rather subtle is happening. So it is with the possible impact of marketing wars on U.S. mobile service providers, despite one or two uncontested observations.
There is disagreement about how the marketing war is affecting AT&T and Verizon. In fact, some might argue the impact on Verizon and AT&T so far has been quite slight. Churn rates for the two carriers are stable, average revenue per account is stable and gross revenue is up, though operating income dipped, year over year.
There is general agreement that T-Mobile US has gained, at least in terms of subscriber growth, while Sprint has suffered, in terms of subscriber count and average revenue per account.
But some would point to lower industry average revenue per account, which fell for a second straight quarter, to an average of $136/month, down from$141 in the fourth quarter.
The biggest drop happened at Sprint, where heavy promotions lead to a 14 percent dip, quarter over quarter, $132/month. But it is difficult to point to clear signs of serious financial damage at AT&T and Verizon.
One might argue it is “too early” to see the impact, but the marketing battles have been underway for more than a year. That should be enough time to discern impact, if there is any serious change.
Some might argue that most of what is happening, in terms of market share shifts, is that T-Mobile US is taking share from other prepaid services, not AT&T and Verizon.