The year is almost coming to a close and what a year it has been in the mobile wireless industry. We are talking about two groups – the U.S. carriers and the heated up competition between them and the Apple/Samsung woes of extreme competition in the Asian and emerging nation markets. The shots were fired in January 2014 and have continued throughout the entire year and going into 2015, which should also prove to be an interesting year.
It is hard to take what investors say seriously sometimes – it is always doom and gloom with a lot of whining going on – this goes for executives too. Every year AT&T and Verizon are telling the investors that their business is extremely competitive…but this past year it is easy to see why they are complaining. T-Mobile and John Legere have always been a wad of gum on the bottom of their shoes and the only satisfaction Verizon and AT&T can experience is that T-Mobile is making even less money, even though their subscribers as increasing. Now Sprint has their new CEO who is offering to cut your Verizon bill in half if you come over to Sprint’s network. The AWS-3 spectrum auction this spring is already up to $44 BILLION and growing as the carriers scramble for additional network capacity. This is another reason the smaller carriers are in trouble – with all of the price cutting going on, they do not have the resources to compete with the big carriers to purchase additional spectrum.
When it comes to Samsung and Apple – the domestic smartphone market is getting somewhat saturated and stagnant compared to what it was like a few years ago. This is causing Samsung and Apple to compete in the rapidly growing China and Indian market. The only problem is that those individuals cannot afford to buy a Samsung Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4 or an Apple iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Even Samsung’s ‘entry-level’ devices were too expensive, but the buyer had little choice a few years ago. However, with the emergence of China’s new high quality and low-cost devices, companies like Xiaomi, ZTE, OnePlus, Lenovo, and Huawei are taking over the China and Indian markets. Xiaomi has skyrocketed this year to number one in smartphone sales in China…leaving Samsung number two. While Samsung is still a solid number one and Apple a solid number two in worldwide smartphone sales, the pressure is greater than ever and will only get worse in 2015.