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USA - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 27 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 209

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in the USA’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- January 2019 (16th Edition)

Executive Summary

USA remains among leaders for 5G into 2020

Growth in the US mobile subscriber base remains strong, with a penetration rate of about 127%. Declining revenue from voice services is compensated for by high growth in mobile data use, itself supported by upgraded networks based on LTE technologies. Smartphone penetration is also high, which had encouraged mobile data use among subscribers. The major operators, led by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US, have partnered with vendors to trial 5G technologies and services and will be expanding their commercial services further into 2019 and into 2020. In addition, operators are working on the potential of NB-IoT, LTE-U and LTE-A technologies, in some respects as complementary technologies supported by 5G.

Major recent developments include the complex reserve auction for spectrum in the 600MHz band, which raised more than $19 billion. Although network operators must wait for spectrum allocations to be concluded, the additional 70MHz made available will go far to supporting mobile broadband in rural areas and improving network capacity.

In addition to the auction of 28GHz spectrum in late 2018 the FCC plans other auctions in 2019 (for spectrum in the 24GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz and 49GHz bands) to increase the amount of spectrum available for 5G.

Given the size of the US broadband market, and the growing demand for data on both fixed and mobile networks, there is continuous pressure for operators to invest in fibre networks, and to push connectivity closer to consumers. In recent years the US has seen increased activity from regional players as well as the major telcos and cablecos. Much of this activity was stimulated by Google Fiber following its investments in a number of markets. Although Google Fiber (now managed through Alphabet’s Access unit) began scaling back its efforts in late 2016, the company’s legacy has been profound. It encouraged the major providers to reduce pricing for their similar offers, stimulated interest among municipal leaders, and highlighted the fact that haphazard and potentially duplicated fibre deployments are no effective substitute for municipally-led wholesale fibre infrastructure accessible to any provider.

Local networks supported by municipal governments have also sprung up despite the lobbying efforts of AT&T and Verizon aimed at preventing local competition. However, for their part AT&T and Verizon have both refocussed efforts on FttP rather than FttN, looking at the benefits of current investments for decades to come. G.fast is also being rolled out, to a lesser degree, in areas where FttP is less feasible, while a growing number of cablecos have also deployed DOCSIS3.1.

There is growing recognition of the importance of a trans-sectoral approach to broadband networks, including the health, education and energy sectors, in order to fully realise the benefits of the nascent digital economy. The FCC’s Eight Fixed Broadband report, published in December 2018, revealed how much still needs to be done to move the US broadband market forward.

This report provides analyses as well as key statistics and forecasts on the US mobile market. It also assesses telcos’ strategies, regulatory policies, and developments in the deployment of emerging technologies. In addition, the report covers the cable, DSL, FttP, Wi-Fi and WiMAX broadband markets, providing market analyses as well as a range of relevant statistics.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • T-Mobile US merger with Sprint concluded;
  • Sprint signs MVNO deal with Altice USA;
  • Auction 103 finishes, raising $7.56 billion;
  • T-Mobile US secures additional 700MHz blocks for $1.3 billion;
  • Google trials facial recognition m-payment system, launches Project Fi MVNO;
  • FCC authorises the use of LTE-U devices in the under-utilised 5GHz band;
  • AT&T launches national LTE-M service;
  • T-Mobile US secures additional 700MHz blocks for $1.3 billion;
  • AT&T closes down 2G infrastructure, reassigns spectrum for LTE;
  • Altice USA to deliver a 10Gb/s service across its footprint by 2022, split off from parent company;
  • Fiber Broadband Association counts 41 million premises passed with fibre;
  • AT&T invests $14 billion in LTE and U-verse network;
  • Maine Fiber Co completes 1,100 mile open network fibre backbone;
  • Charter Communications launches 1Gb/s DOCSIS3.1 service;
  • Round 2 auction of the Connect America Fund completed;
  • Report update includes telcos' operating and financial data to Q4 2019, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile US, TracFone, MetroPCS Communications, Leap Wireless, Frontline, Alltel, US Cellular, Clearwire, Google, CenturyLink, Qwest, Frontier Communications, Windstream, Fairpoint, Cincinnati Bell, Comcast, HughesNet, ViaSat, Altice USA

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