Comcast Will Rearrange U.S. Mobile Market
Most people underestimate the impact Comcast is going to have in the U.S. mobile market, either underestimating Comcast’s resolve or the likely impact on installed base and market share.
One only has to look at what Comcast already has done to glimpse the impact. Comcast is the absolute leader, among all Internet service providers, in the U.S. high speed access market, and has grown its retail bandwidth capabilities faster than all other competitors, since about 2002.
Since at least 2008, Comcast has been the leading supplier of high speed access services in the U.S. market. Perhaps more important is that Comcast’s market share was growing at more than three times Verizon’s share and six times AT&T’s rate in 2014.
The voice services is a bit more complicated, in large part because the fixed network voice market has declined so much, with users shifting to mobile for calling.
In fact, Comcast believes, by about 2023, nearly 60 percent of U.S. households will not buy fixed network voice service at all. That is one reason why Comcast believes it must enter the mobile market.
Between 2000 and 2011, for example, U.S. mobile share of voice connections doubled, while telco fixed network share dropped 300 percent. Fixed network voice share obtained by all others--primarily cable TV companies--more than doubled.
Still, in 2013, cable TV operators had 37 percent of the fixed network voice customers .
The point is that Comcast--and cable TV operators generally-- have demonstrated an ability to take serious market share, and become serious providers, in virtually all the new markets they have entered. In addition to consumer high speed access and voice, that success extends to business services.
So it does not take special insight to predict that Comcast will become a major factor in the U.S. mobile market. Just how big Comcast will become is the only issue.
If one assumes AT&T and Verizon have between 33 percent and 35 percent share, each, of the U.S. mobile, it does not take much imagination to suggest that Comcast will get 30 percent installed base, taking share from the other four leading contestants.
It might be quite reasonable to assume that perhaps half of that share will come from a Comcast acquisition of at least some assets of Sprint or T-Mobile US.