The US telecom industry is now a vast empire, with most of it controlled by four houses.
Drawing parallels to the HBO epic Game of Thrones, these three strongholds are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
AT&T is clearly House Lannister. With the resources historically at its disposal and its long history and usurping its competition, the lion has grown old but is still relevant.
Debatably, with its dragon-like market disrupting capabilities, Verizon is House Targaryen. Like the episodes that feature the dragons, Verizon might be quite rewarding to its viewers (stockholders), being among one of the top dividend payers in the market.
AT&T is right behind it and looks a little healthier, to be honest. As they say, a Lannister always pays his debt.
But it can be argued that the underdog T-Mobile seems to have crept on the historic champion and competitor duality of Verizon and AT&T. Like House Stark, with a loyal following and many surprises (in the market), they are slowly gaining ground.
While much of the US (like King’s Landing) might be accustomed to just two big names fighting it out everywhere, in most places more players are always a good thing (or else, things like the Red Wedding can occur). Especially, in telecom.
With both Sprint and T-Mobile forcing Verizon and AT&T to reintroduce unlimited plans early last year, 2017 ended with the two finally getting a grip on the shoddy speed issue that came with higher consumption.
Sprint is like House Baratheon. As I mentioned before, when Sprint joined hands with Stark-like T-Mobile, they did achieve some magic (much like what happened in the North.)
As the new year/season begins, all four operators seem to be offering competitive service. But what is really to be noted is that this helped the 4G LTE technology to spread throughout the nation. (much like the awareness of white walkers last season.)
Collectively, these four telecom ‘houses’ account for over 411 million connections, over 98 percent of the nationwide total.
The coming year could be exciting for the telecom sector, especially for Verizon. Historically, the big red is known for its disruptive introduction to the market, the latest being leading the LTE switch. (After all, the Lannisters did finish off the Tyrell and the Sand dynasty.)
Sprint might still be falling short of the prime three, but this year has just begun. When last year began, T-Mobile was just starting to go neck to neck with the two giants, and Sprint might emulate it. (Except I don’t see any Baratheon ever getting back up on the show.) However, unlike the Baratheons, Sprint has had enough time to prepare.
According to the FCC, the mean LTE download speed jumped more than 60% to 23.5 Mbps in the first half of FY17, from 14.4 Mbps in the first half of FY14. Much like the spread of the show.
“Although fifth generation (5G) cellular networking standards have yet to be finalized, several wireless service providers already have begun 5G trials,” read the latest FCC report on innovation and new technologies in the sector.
Can’t wait for the white-walker invasion, especially with their new undead dragon, honestly!
SIGIL COURTESY: KatSy0 on DeviantArt.