The cost of unlimited data is having a bad effect on the bottom line

Written by on June 12, 2017 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

By cherezoff /

The sharp U-turn by US operators is having a serious impact as unlimited data costs effect the bottom line. All the major US wireless carriers have recently rolled out unlimited plans (here) and the sudden about face is taking a toll according to Cowen and Company Equity Research. The unlimited data costs are being felt.

“The first quarter of unlimited for all four carriers left much to be desired,” Colby Synesael of Cowen wrote in a research note this morning. “Both AT&T and Verizon incurred postpaid losses for the first time on record, a trend that could continue. Verizon specifically had its worst quarter in recent memory with a lackluster performance on nearly all sub metrics. Even T-Mobile’s guidance included a ‘less great’ postpaid net add increase of just +250,000. Combined with continued pricing pressure, AT&T and Verizon are pivoting to new avenues of growth such as Mexico, content, media, IoT and 5G, all of which can’t come soon enough.”

Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure said just last month that wireless price increases are a necessity (here) as the current model is not sustainable. “In order for this industry to be healthy, I think eventually all carriers will have to increase prices in the next few years as data consumption increases,” Claure said.

Mike McCormack at Jefferies agrees. “The resurgence of unlimited plans is likely to delay more meaningful ARPU stabilization for multiple quarters due to the loss of overages and plan rightsizing,” McCormack wrote in a note to investors. “Impacts to ARPU on an incremental basis (i.e. for new subscribers) will depend on the number of accompanying lines activated. Our analysis suggests a willingness to use price with the hopes that multiline subscribers will churn less frequently. The move to unlimited also diminishes the ability to monetize growing data usage, removing an important lever of growth.”

Competition increasing from all directions, merger whispers on the wind and the pressure on the bottom line. While all the top carrier are feeling the unlimited data costs mount, the question is, will the pricing pendulum swing back and how long will it take?

More on AndroidHeadlines.

This article was first published on Pricing Data Plans.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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