After hearing from carriers, particularly Verizon Wireless, that customers didn't need or want unlimited data, they have decided to bring it back. And now all four carriers in the US are offering up unlimited data. But many are wondering how sustainable this is, especially long-term. Now, Chetan Sharma Consulting believes that unlimited data could actually result in even further consolidation in the US' wireless industry. Of course, that's in the long-term picture, but it's still what Chetan Sharma believes.
Right now, all the talk seems to be among Sprint and T-Mobile merging together to form a more competitive third carrier to go up against Verizon and AT&T. This is something that Sprint and SoftBank had wanted to do before, but with the Obama administration in charge, they were not going to let it happen. And now with Trump in charge, they are taking a new look at things. Although it still may not happen since T-Mobile is much more valuable now and actually profitable for Deutsche Telekom. Now with the Incentive Auction going on right now, the carriers are unable to talk with each other, which is why we haven't seen any rumors about the carriers being in talks for mergers and such as of late. But that'll likely change after the auction ends next month.
Competition is a good thing for any industry, and in terms of the wireless industry, it appears to have brought things back to 2010, the last time all four carriers offered unlimited data. However, since then, data usage has gone up by about 5000%, largely because there are more people using smartphones now, and smartphones use a lot more data than they did in 2010. It'll be interesting to see what the long-term challenges are for unlimited data. And since "unlimited data" isn't the same thing it was in 2010, it might actually be sustainable. Since the carriers are "optimizing" data, particularly when it comes to video data, to allow that data to go even further. Of course, we won't know for sure what impact unlimited data has on the industry for a few years or more from now.