Posted: January 28, 2013

Worldwide LTE operators should watch the network build-out, pricing and device strategies of the successful US operators, according to Chris Nicoll, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason.

In Analysys Mason’s new Viewpoint, LTE lessons from market leaders in the USA, we look at the go-to-market, device and pricing strategies that have created leadership positions for the top US LTE operators, and the strategies that may lead to two operators’ possible exit from the market.

Learn more about LTE operators worldwide @ 4G/LTE Network deployments worldwide

Initial comments from Chris Nicoll:

  • The two largest 3G network operators, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, have leveraged aggressive national build-out schedules, innovative no-premium pricing, and extensive smartphone portfolios to drive users to their 4G networks.  In only two years, 50% of Verizon’s mobile data is on its LTE network, and we expect the number of 3G connections to decline in the US this year, with LTE the dominant technology by 2015.
  • The leading US LTE operators have shown a remarkable maturation of pricing strategy as they continue to increase ARPU, moving from flat rate pricing, to tiered pricing, and most recently to multi-device pricing plans, effectively monetising the consumer trend to multiple devices.  Competitors are launching flat-rate plans to attract value-buyers, but long-term monetisation will remain a question for these operators.
  • US spectrum policy has now been superceded by market activity as spectrum concerns continue to drive operator behaviour.  Every major US operator has engaged in M&A or spectrum buying/swapping activities in the past 12 months.  Third ranked operator Sprint has announced its intention to acquire its partner Clearwire to gain access to its 2.5GHz spectrum, while #4 operator T-Mobile has announced its plans to acquire MetroPCS for additional urban spectrum assets.  Leap Wireless is actively seeking partners to use its spectrum and to provide funding to complete its LTE network build.
  • The US mobile market is smartphone-driven and despite a relatively small initial market, operators today offer nearly 20 different models of LTE smartphones from Samsung, Apple, Motorola, HTC and Nokia.

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