AT&T recently followed in the steps of Sprint and T-Mobile by lowering video quality for its mobile subscribers in an attempt to stem growing bandwidth demands placed on its network by the expanding popularity of streaming mobile video, according to Fortune.
The company’s new Stream Saver feature, which it will roll out next year, will reduce subscribers’ mobile video quality unless they opt out of it. The move comes after T-Mobile and Sprint both introduced lower-cost subscriber plans that automatically reduce streaming video quality.
Carriers are rolling out these new subscriber plans and features to try to cut off the growing bandwidth demands placed on their networks by streaming video. Ericsson predicted last year that mobile video would grow to account for 70% of all mobile data traffic by 2021, up from 50% last year. The major carriers are being squeezed tighter by growing data demands because they have so many customers, which translates to less available radio spectrum per customer.
In the long term, these carriers are hoping that 5G, the next generation of mobile networking technology, will increase network capacity enough to account for the boom in streaming mobile video. 5G technology is expected to deliver a mammoth increase in mobile network capacity: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers estimates that 5G technology will increase mobile network capacity by 1,000 in 10 years compared with today’s 4G networks. In the meantime, carriers will continue to look for other measures to slow growing data demands of mobile video, including cutting costs for subscribers.
The way wireless carriers handle this situation could spell the future of the wireless industry, which remains in a state of flux. AT&T and Verizon have dominated the carrier market over the past seven years while T-Mobile and Sprint have struggled to gain subscribers. Then in 2013, T-Mobile tweaked its strategy to turn around its business.
This move, along with slowing smartphone adoption and other forces in the mobile industry, killed the two-year contract and initiated an ongoing price war between carriers. The movement away from the contract model is not only changing the way carriers operate, it’s affecting the myriad of industries that rely on carriers’ services.
Will McKitterick, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on wireless carriers that examines how the wireless industry has fundamentally changed since carriers began aggressively responding to the launch of T-Mobile’s “Un-Carrier” movement. It also looks at the factors underpinning changes in the broader wireless industry and the challenges carriers face in 2016 and beyond, including the upcoming spectrum auction and the deployment of new wireless technologies.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Consumers are actually becoming more loyal to their current wireless operator even as competition between the carriers intensifies.
- The wireless carriers are not only battling over device financing, they’re also trying to woo consumers through attractive data packages.
- Intensified competition between carriers has lengthened the smartphone replacement cycle, posing a challenge for mobile software developers and handset makers.
- With phone subscriber growth stagnating, carriers will look to alternative sources of revenue, including connected cars, tablets, and IoT devices, to drive growth.
- The upcoming spectrum auction, the latest ruling on net neutrality, and new technology, will change the face of the broader wireless industry in next few years.
In full, the report:
- Examines the impact of T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier movement on the wireless industry.
- Forecasts how the death of the two-year contract will impact the broader mobile industry.
- Identifies how carriers are helping facilitate the growth of mobile video consumption.
- Explains the changing nature of subscriptions and the growing importance of connected devices.
- Discusses what changes and challenges the wireless industry will face over the next five years.
To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:
- Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
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The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the wireless carrier war.
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