Barclays Predicts Subdued Wireless Market Through Year's End

Barclays Equity Research sent out a recent note to investors that said, in essence, that the firm predicts the end of the year to be a relatively peaceful time in the United States wireless industry. Competition with holiday promotions seems to be far less fierce this year than it usually is, and that trend is expected to remain unchanged all through the remainder of the year. To be sure, that's not a very long time; there are less than three weeks left in the calendar year at this point. Regardless, Barclay's has issued a statement saying that it does not expect wireless carriers to delve into stiff competition or make mad grabs for subscribers for at least that duration.

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have all backed up Barclay's claims, saying that they all don't have anything major planned for the remainder of 2017. T-Mobile did not submit any such commentary, but did not say anything to the contrary, either. While the three carriers that had something to say did all agree that nothing major will happen for the remainder of this year, nobody commented on possible new year promotions, which are fairly common industry practice. This comes at the end of a year that has essentially been an all-out war between carriers over subscribers, even seeing Sprint giving away free service time to switchers from other carriers, despite its somewhat precarious financial standings.

Looking forward, Barclay's sees the price war in wireless largely falling by the wayside as carriers' wallets run too slim to continue supporting it. Sprint, who has positioned itself as a leader in low pricing, has expressed an intention to increase prices next year. As the march toward 5G moves on and carriers invest more and more into making their networks as fast, high-capacity, and reliable as possible, Barclay's sees customers moving en masse to higher-end devices and looking more to network quality. Prices in the industry will likely equalize to some degree in due time, with the rush to move subscribers largely over. This all points to an overall more tame and focused 2018 among wireless carriers in the US.

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