The wireless industry was full of expansion, growth, activity, excitement and some disappointment in 2017. So, what can we expect in 2018? Wireless will continue to be the center of the universe. Other industries will partner with and use wireless to expand and grow. Yet, not every company will grow. Let’s take a look at what’s coming next.
Apple iPhone is approaching it’s 11-year anniversary. They are still one of the largest and strongest companies and that will continue. However, the shine may finally be coming off the rose with the latest battery problem and iPhone slowdown.
Apple iPhone and Siri problems
Will they continue to grow? Will they move into new areas? These are a few questions investors, competitors and customers are asking. While they are still on top of the world with their iPhone, what about tomorrow? If they can recover, they will continue to grow. They have recovered before. Remember battery-gate from a few years ago?
Siri was very impressive when it launched, but has not really advanced as much recently, especially as the competitive playing field is getting hotter. Google Home and Now, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and other competitors seem to be growing in leaps and bounds. Why doesn’t Apple have a competitive device to the Google Home and Amazon Alexa?
These devices are growing so rapidly and these companies are capturing the customer in their eco-system. Something Apple understands and has successfully done with their iPhone. The big question is, why aren’t they expanding into AI and IoT devices keeping up with the competitors. Apple TV is another disappointment.
Google Home, Amazon Alexa, AI, IoT and invasion of privacy
Google is also hitting their 11-year anniversary with their Android smartphone. They are also expanding into AI with Google Home, the device that sits on your table and can listen to every word uttered. This invasion of privacy doesn’t seem to be bothering the marketplace as it buys this device at a rapid pace. However, that may change in 2018 as users become more aware of this problem area.
Amazon Alexa and Echo and other AI devices are similar to the Google Home and are also very popular. They are also always listening and invading your privacy. With that said, they were the number one seller this holiday season according to Amazon.
These AI and IoT devices will continue to grow and innovate and WOW the marketplace going forward. However, I think the privacy issue will become well known in 2018 and will become a high profile issue all players will have to wrestle with.
AT&T, AT&T Mobility, DirecTV NOW, wireless TV
AT&T and AT&T Mobility continues to show rapid growth in a variety of areas. Not only are they at the top of the list of wireless carriers, but they are also now number two in pay TV after acquiring DirecTV, behind only Comcast Xfinity. They are ahead of Charter Spectrum in pay TV. Charter still holds the number two position in traditional cable TV.
Wireless TV or mobile TV is a new product AT&T introduced letting customers watch TV on their smartphones or tablets anywhere in the USA. This has created a new sector which several other major competitors are rushing to enter as well. So, traditional cable TV is shrinking while the more advanced pay TV and wireless TV is growing.
Verizon, Verizon Wireless, AOL and Yahoo
Verizon and Verizon Wireless have been asleep at the wheel for the last several years, but they seem to be waking up. They have a solid wireless network and have developed new advertising and messaging discussing how wireless is changing the world, industry by industry. It reminds me of the popular AT&T commercials we have seen over the last several decades.
Verizon’s strategy with AOL and Yahoo is still a bit confusing to me. They want to become another Amazon.com like company creating a place where companies and customers can meet, buy and sell. This is unproven for Verizon, so we cannot judge yet. I hope it is successful for them.
T-Mobile, Sprint and pay TV
T-Mobile continues to grow. They tried to acquire Sprint, but that didn’t happen. Since then, they announced they are moving into the pay TV industry with their uncarrier strategy. So, is their strategy to simply create a sticky bundle to hang on to their customers, or do they see this as a way to grow? Don’t know yet, but one thing I do know… when John Legere of T-Mobile sets his mind on a target, he goes for it.
Sprint was counting on the merger with T-Mobile. However, 2018 may be good for the company. They have done quite a bit of shuffling of executives and management cutting layers away. That change may be good. The next question is where will growth come from?
Altice recently signed an agreement with Sprint as an MVNO. These two companies will share networks. Altice will use Sprint’s wireless network similar to the way Comcast Xfinity and Charter Spectrum are using the Verizon Wireless network.
Sprint on the other hand will use Altice cable TV network to deploy 5G services. This sounds promising for both Sprint and Altice. Plus, Sprint and Comcast also struck a deal in recent weeks as well.
The next question is about Sprint and pay TV. Will their agreement with either Altice or Comcast let them sell pay TV services so they can compete with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in that slice of the pie in 2081? Stay tuned.
Comcast Xfinity Mobile and Charter Spectrum wireless
Comcast Xfinity Mobile is a new player in the wireless industry. They tried this years ago along with other cable television companies, Facebook and Amazon with their Fire Phone, but they all failed. This time however, it looks like Xfinity Mobile is winning. It has only been a few quarters, so we can’t make any long-term predictions, but so far, so good. They also recently struck a deal to sell their pay TV services in Sprint stores.
Charter Spectrum is the other traditional cable TV company that is getting into wireless in 2018. They are a step behind Comcast. If they play their cards right, and do the right things, I can see them being as successful as Comcast. Let’s hope they can do a good job.
Will their strategy be the same? We’ll see. The Comcast wireless strategy is different than that of other wireless competitors. They are an MVNO, reselling Verizon Wireless. They are not looking at wireless as a growth engine. They are looking at it to keep their customer base happy and stable using multiple services.
Siyata Mobile introduces PTT to wireless in 2018
Siyata Mobile is an interesting story. They are a young Canadian company that is in the push-to-talk sector of the wireless industry. They have an aggressive growth plan for the USA and other countries around the world. There are many companies and industries that need PTT. Siyata Mobile will enter the US marketplace in 2018. Keep your eyes on them.
So, as you can see, wireless has seen incredible growth and change in 2017. And that wave will continue in 2018 and beyond. We will see existing competitors use new strategies for continued growth. We will see new competitors trying to carve out a slice of the pie. We will see movement into new areas like wireless TV. And we may see new entrants coming to wireless like Facebook and Amazon tried several years ago.
Wireless continues to expand and transform in 2018
Wireless continues to be one of the most important industries going forward. Every other industry will use wireless to innovate and gain a competitive advantage. The healthcare industry, automotive, retail and industry after industry are going to adopt wireless for years to come.
So, bottom line, companies in other industries who are early movers can gain the early adopters advantage. Next, every competitor will enter the wireless space just to stay competitive. Keep your eyes open for these newcomers. Companies who want to change their industries and even change the world. 2018 will be very exciting, so buckle your seat belts!