Private wireless and wireless home internet are relatively new segments that are starting to show rapid growth. Many companies are jumping in, with some providing services to business customers and consumers and others providing network to end users on the business side. Verizon VZ and AT&T are in the traditional wireless space, but growth is slowing down. So they and T-Mobile TMUS are increasingly looking at private wireless and 5G wireless home internet for future growth.
While this is good news, some real risks come along with the growth opportunities in these two service categories. Let’s take a closer look at what it will take for the wireless carriers to be successful.
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Face a Dilemma
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have built state of the art public wireless networks. Over time, this has rewarded their investors, workers and users.
Today — though we’re connected with our smartphones and countless other devices as never before — growth is slowing in the more traditional wireless space. For the companies’ leaders, finding new growth areas to keep shareholders satisfied is paramount.
That’s why AT&T and Verizon took some very strange paths during the past decade into the world of entertainment. AT&T acquired CNN and Warner Brothers Studio creating WarnerMedia, while Verizon acquired Yahoo and AOL.
Both attempts reached for the stars, and both attempts failed to transform these wireless leaders into players in the larger and wider entertainment space.
Private Wireless and 5G Home Internet: The Way Forward?
Breaking the opportunity down, we have private wireless on the business services side and 5G wireless home internet on the consumer side.
The past several years we have seen AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon focus on building their business services side of the house — a big growth opportunity, but risky too.
You see, many other competitors see the same growth opportunity and are also rapidly moving into this space. They started when AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon did not yet see these as a growth opportunity.
In a competitive marketplace, it’s not just the company with the best idea or the best quality who wins.
Companies also need the best marketing, advertising and public relations strategy to break through the loud industry noise and clutter.
That means AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon should be turning the volume up to its highest level to own this new space. Instead, they are at a quiet murmur, and I am sorry to say, that is just not enough.
It’s not like these companies don’t know how to turn up the volume. Heck, they grew up in the crazy and chaotic wireless industry. So the real question is, why aren’t they doing it?
Meanwhile, so many other competitors are moving into the private wireless space. And it’s not just similar companies with similar services, but there are a growing variety of services and networks enterprise customers can either buy or build on their own.
While AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon can offer private wireless services, so can competitors like Xfinity Mobile CMCSA , Spectrum Mobile CHTR , Optimum ATUS , Cox, US Cellular USM , C-Spire, CenturyLink LUMN , Dish DISH , Boost (owned by Dish), VMWare VMW , DELL DELL , Cisco CSCO , Palo Alto Networks PANW , HPE HPE , Juniper Networks JNPR , Celona, Aruba (part of HPE), Fortinet FTNT and more.
A great example of the rapid growth and trajectory of the business services side of the wireless industry is the partnership recently announced by US Cellular USM and Betacom — letting the wireless competitors offer private wireless services to their enterprise customers.
Moment of Truth for Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T
Such intense competition only heightens the lack of marketing and public relations by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. They need to turn up the volume before this new growth wave continues to move ahead potentially leave them behind.
Having watched these competitors over time — having met with their senior executives and shared my opinion on the changing industry, I see this as a moment of truth for three wireless giants of yesteryear. Do they still have what it takes?
Can they market correctly and win over the customers for these new services? I hope so. Time is ticking away.