The Strategy Analytics Wireless Network Strategies service report, "US Wireless Market Outlook: 2009 Key Trends," predicts that US cellular subscriber growth will remain strong despite the economic situation, although growth levels will scale back slightly from 2008. US cellular service revenues will also continue to grow, albeit at a slower growth rate of 3.9%, down from 7.5% in 2008.
Strong data ARPUs (average revenue per user), driven by flat-rate data plans and increasing adoption of smartphones and mobile broadband datacards, will not be enough to keep total ARPUs from dropping minimally in 2009.
In the current economic climate carriers must address tightening consumer wallets. "Rather than just pushing prepaid as the perfect recession-proof tariff, carriers will work to make postpaid plans more attractive to budget-conscious customers who are re-examining their cellular spend," explains Phil Kendall, Director of the Strategy Analytics Wireless Network Strategies service.
Strategy Analytics predicts more positioning for value rather than straight out price competition. "All-you-can-eat operators MetroPCS and Leap Wireless should fare well and present a challenge, especially to T-Mobile USA. Strategy Analytics expects that Sprint will continue to struggle," predicts Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics and author of the report. "The year 2009 will see heightened competition between AT&T Mobility and the new number one, Verizon Wireless -- fresh from its acquisition of Alltel. These two will jockey for technology leadership on Long-Term Evolution (LTE), push wireless connectivity in consumer electronics devices and increasingly represent a larger share of total subscribers and service revenues."
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