A few years ago a friend of mine was mugged in London. Two men waved knives at him and demanded his wallet, his smartphone... and then his other phone. This final demand threw him a little, as he only carried one phone, and it took a while (and a quick frisk) to convince the muggers that they would have to share a single smartphone. I’m sure they walked away muttering about their poor fortune as, apparently, the odds are quite high that someone wandering the streets of London will be toting a couple of devices.
Commoditization of Cellular Data has been a major theme discussed throughout the year as unlimited data plans have become the de facto offering in the U.S. mobile market. We have seen the same commoditization trend with voice and SMS in the past two decades, as mobile carriers first sold voice minutes and SMS in various size packages, but they were eventually thrown in for free when we started paying by the size of our cellular data bucket.
In my last predictions piece The Cable Threat is More Real Than Ever, I covered how the cable players are poised to become even more of a threat in the already competitive U.S. mobile market in 2018. With cellphone penetration reaching saturation levels, switcher activity has become the mainstream method for subscriber growth, and this is where the established players run into problems...
When Comcast launched its Xfinity Mobile service in 2017, it wasn’t taken too seriously by the competition, due to its lack of retail presence and limited device/service portfolio. This perception changed rather drastically when Comcast announced it had a quarter million subscribers within the first five months of its pilot launch.
The show when:
- Blockchain, AI, VR and other buzzwords
- Hey Google!
- One well placed rant
- The robot uprising has begun
- Not all robots were feisty
- Time for a new body?
For a category that has faced much skepticism, it’s hard to argue that the wearable tech category has not been a success story so far. In fact, NPD expects that total ownership of activity trackers and smartwatches among U.S. adults will stand at nearly 77 million devices by the end of 2017. However, the market is becoming increasingly complex in the face of innovation and changing consumer demands. 2018 will see even more dramatic shifts in the evolution of the wearable tech space than we have seen in the previous two years.
The U.S. is number four in the list of innovative countries worldwide, according to a June 2017 Business Insider article. On the surface, it's a puzzling rank. This is, after all, the country that put a man on the moon (and maybe will again soon), built the initial Internet, and is home to many of the major tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. And yet, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands all rank higher for innovation. Ouch.
What do you do when your boss decides you should write a “crystal ball” blog about the upcoming year? Well, if you’re anything like me, you procrastinate until something strikes you. The predictions that follow aren’t necessarily going to tell you what to expect next year; rather, they will describe why 2018 will be characterized by large industry-wide disruptions in markets facing uncertainty.
In my previous blog, Dishing Out Mobile Predictions, we explored Dish’s desire to launch an IoT-focused mobile network and how Amazon would be a natural partner in this enterprise. But, as predictions go, there’s a far more interesting potential opportunity for the two companies: a full mobile service offering for consumers. The combined efforts of Dish and Amazon could provide a truly disruptive consumer-based mobile offering that is worth exploring.
According to the latest NPD Group Connected Intelligence Smartphone and Tablet Usage report, cellular data usage among consumers with unlimited plans is 67 percent higher than those with limited plans. Limited plan users instead rely more on Wi-Fi access. Over the last three months, limited plan users consumed eight percent more than their unlimited plan counterparts, with a spike of 18 percent more Wi-Fi usage in October.