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Jeff Kagan Column

 

Jeff Kagan

Industry Analyst, Consultant, Speaker

Commentator and Provocateur

Wireless Analyst   Telecom Analyst  Industry Analyst  Tech Analyst

Kagan has been writing columns on a weekly basis for 25 years

 

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Jeff Kagan is an IndustryAnalyst, Consultant and Columnist.

As a nationally and internationally recognized industry analyst Jeff Kagan is also a highly sought commentator, columnist, speaker, author, professional agitator, opinion-ator and provocateur.

 

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http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/82858.html?u=jeffkagan&p=ENNSS_884f00f61641d1ed58970a1df38e1a92

Jeff Kagan: Microsoft and Apple Share a Peaceful Moment

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151207/opinion/wireless-changes-every-industry-kagan

Kagan: Speech on how wireless changes every industry

http://www.equities.com/news/jeff-kagan-at-t-gigapower-growth-explodes-1

Jeff Kagan: AT&T GigaPower Growth Explodes

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-ces-2016-is-coming-are-you-ready

Jeff Kagan: CES 2016 is Coming...Are You Ready?

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151130/opinion/sprint-is-the-most-improved-carrier-in-2015

Kagan: Sprint is the most improved carrier in 2015

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151124/opinion/carriers-simplify-pricing-models-kagan

Kagan: Wireless carriers simplify price models

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/consumer-discretionary/jeff-kagan-lexus-secret-to-success-is-customer-satisfaction

Jeff Kagan: Lexus Secret to Success is Customer Satisfaction

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-sees-growth-with-cut-your-rate-plan-in-half-2-0

Jeff Kagan: Sprint Sees Growth With "Cut Your Rate Plan in Half" 2.0

By Jeff Kagan 

November 18, 2015 3:25PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ TMUS S

Sprint ($S) today made a major service announcement, which sounds like it could be as successful as last years ďCut Your Rate Plan in HalfĒ. This new plan does not have a name, but Sprint says customers who switch to them save 50% over AT&T ($T) Mobility, Verizon Wireless ($VZ), T-Mobile ($TMUS) US, Cricket or MetroPCS. Plus, they say this yearís plan has one important added feature: The customer takes no risk. If they donít like it, they can switch back at no cost within 28 days.

Last years ďCut Your Rate Plan in HalfĒ was the most successful plan Sprint has ever launched. Even with that level of success, there were still some customers who didnít take them up on their offer. Sprint thought through the reasons why and solved them with what they call "a risk-free offer".

Cut Your Rate Plan in Half 2.0

Customers of other carriers can try Sprint for 28 days at no risk. If they like it, they stay and pay half what they were paying before. If they donít like it, they can switch back with no penalty or cost.

This no-risk offer sounds like it could be just what hesitant customers need to make the switch and try Sprint. Based on what I hear so far, I would say this year's plan should be just as successful as last years, since it will let users who are interested, yet hesitant, try the service and make their own decision.

There are differences from last years "Cut Your Rate Plan in Half" program. Last year focused on AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. This year also includes T-Mobile, Cricket and MetroPCS.

This year, customers donít have to buy a new device. They can simply bring their existing device to Sprint. Of course, they can purchase a new Sprint device if they choose, but thatís not necessary. Sprint will also pay switching fees up to $650 per line.

Sprint Continues to Improve Network Speed and Capacity

Sprint continues to improve their operations from all sides. They are improving the network speeds at locations across the country with their LTE Plus. They have plenty of spectrum. They offer network speeds at a very fast 100 Mbs at a growing number of cities nationwide. They are right-sizing the company with regard to operating expenses. Plus, with this new plan, they continue to roll out innovative services to reach more customers.

Sprint says by charging half what a customer pays now, users can save more than $1,000 per year or more than $2,000 over a typical two-year plan. Customers who are focused on cutting costs will be attracted to this offer.

How Successful Will Sprint Be?

So how many customers will Sprint be able to win with this promotion? Thatís the million-dollar question. How much will this help Sprint win market share and grow revenue? They seem convinced this will be a success as good or better than last years plan.

Will other carriers follow Sprint? They didnít last year so I would say no. However you never know.

We will obviously have to wait and see how successful this new plan will be, however based on the success of last years plan, my initial thoughts are that this half-price with no risk to the customer sounds like another winner for Sprint.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          November 18, 2015 3:25PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-sees-growth-with-cut-your-rate-plan-in-half-2-0#sthash.zBog5qCm.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151117/opinion/t-mobile-binge-on-in-review-kagan

Kagan: Can T-Mobile US handle Binge On TV?

By Jeff Kagan  on November 17, 2015   Carriers, Opinion

T-Mobile US announced their new Binge On wireless TV service. With that news, there seems to be concerned voices from a variety of people in the industry wondering whether the T-Mobile network can handle the expected usage surge. So what can we expect to see? Letís take a closer look.

First, this is T-Mobileís first move into wireless television. I am very happy to see this and applaud their new move. Wireless television is a new growth direction for the wireless industry. This is one of the newest hot trends and is transforming both wireless and Pay TV like cable television and IPTV.

T-Mobile is joining players like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. The potential rub comes from the fact that these other carriers have the spectrum and network speed to deliver a good experience.

T-Mobile on the other hand does not at this time. They have a fast network in certain locations, but they have little spectrum. So could this be a problem?

Could this be a problem?

I would imagine T-Mobile would know about this threat of potential bottlenecks in their wireless data flow for both Binge On and ordinary customers. I would imagine they would want to protect their image in the marketplace, so wonít do something that would spoil things for their customers and therefore for themselves in the long run.

So with that said, why are so many in the industry concerned with the ability of T-Mobile to handle the increased demand? Good question.

T-Mobile has improved their quality and speed in many markets and is continually getting better, however they still have very little spectrum. So since network speed and spectrum are both needed for a good wireless television experience, industry experts have been weighing in with concern.

Uncertainty is unsettling

To tell you the truth, I donít know what to expect. This level of uncertainty is, quite frankly, disturbing and unusual. When a company introduces a new service it is usually welcomed. Then we watch and see if there are any problems after the rollout. Binge On, however, seems to be the hot topic of discussion among many in the industry before itís even rolled out.

Cable TV needs to step up to wireless TV

I love the idea of wireless TV. We already see major wireless players in this space. That is forcing the cable television competitors like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox to think about moving in this same direction to stay competitive.

The idea is not the problem. The problem is whether the wireless network has enough spectrum, speed and capacity to deliver a great user experience.

A quick look at recent events proves the industry is moving in this wireless television direction. AT&T acquired DirecTV, letting this television provider now offer wireless TV over smartphones and the wireless network.

This puts intense pressure on DISH Network to do the same. Comcast also just announced they notified Verizon Wireless of their intention to develop new wireless TV services in order to be innovative and compete.

Other cable television companies need to step up to this increasing competitive pressure. The game is changing and blending pay TV with wireless is one of the key services we will all be using going forward. Today companies who are entering this space have a competitive advantage, but tomorrow it will just be standard fare.

Thatís why T-Mobile sees wireless TV as a great new avenue for growth. I agree this is the direction they should be heading, if they are ready. In fact, this is the direction all competitors should be heading.

With all that said, we seem to hear about the nagging industry fears which are being expressed regarding whether T-Mobile network can handle the increased wireless television usage. I guess weíll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Good luck T-Mobile!

About Author

Jeff Kagan            

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/The-Wireless-Industry-Is-Changing-Again-82740.html

ANALYST CORNER

The Wireless Industry Is Changing Again

By Jeff Kagan

Nov 13, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Wireless is one of the strongest industries today. However, it continues to change. Every few years, the focus changes and the industry goes in new directions. It happened a few years ago with the iPhone and Android. Now change is happening once again.

The wireless industry growth wave is changing. It is cresting. That is not a problem for the network and handset companies that are creating the next growth waves to ride. The problem is for companies that don't recognize what is happening. Companies that don't create the next growth wave to ride may find the next five years tougher than the last.

Smartphones will continue to be the strong base, both for the network and the handset maker, but rapid growth will come from other areas. Wireless is still growing and expanding, and things look different going forward.

Wireless Is Transforming Other Industries

Wireless is working with other industries to help them modernize and grow -- industries like automotive, healthcare, retail, and so many others all are embracing the wireless world. Sometimes this rapid transformation is a little unsettling, but progress and growth are always good.

Just look at how cars are starting to work with wireless networks, for example, providing a WiFi hotspot for users' devices. All sorts of new and advanced technology keeps rolling out on the dashboard, both for drivers and passengers.

Another example is how wireless is transforming the pay-TV space. This is giving cable television companies a real run for their money. Some will change to meet the new challenge. Some won't.

The iPhone and Android Wave

The last major shift took place roughly eight years ago, when Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system hit the market. Super-smartphones transformed the industry and quickly took the lead, sending BlackBerry and Nokia to the back of the pack. They created an entirely new experience with apps and all sorts of features that were never available before.

Consumers and business users rushed to get their hands on smartphones. Now that growth curve is slowing. While smartphones will be a powerhouse segment going forward, they no longer will be a powerful growth engine. However, growth can and will occur.

Public Companies Need to Show Growth

Since public companies need to show growth to keep investors happy, they continually expand and create the next growth wave. That's the reason for the constant wave after wave of innovation in the wireless industry.

On the network side, AT&T Mobility started making changes in the last several years. Verizon Wireless is not moving as quickly or as aggressively, but it is transforming itself as well, to keep up with new industry trends.

Larger wireless carriers are working closely with many different industries to transform what they do and give them new areas for growth. They are changing the pay-TV business by letting users watch television in their homes, as usual, but also over the wireless network, anywhere, using their smartphones and tablets.

In fact, since AT&T acquired DirecTV, it now offers television over the AT&T Mobility wireless network. Now users can watch television anytime, anyplace, on any device -- like a smartphone or tablet. This lets AT&T compete nationally against the cable television industry, with a better offer than traditional cable TV.

Wireless TV Is a Threat to Cable TV

That is a big threat and challenge to cable-TV providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox and others. This new competitive pressure means all players must rise in order to remain competitive. That is good, because the cable television industry has not shown much innovation in recent decades without a competitive threat.

That's likely why Comcast recently notified Verizon Wireless of its intention to develop new services. It is trying to remain competitive with DirecTV -- and AT&T's DirecTV is just the beginning of this new wave of television. The threat to the traditional cable television industry is great.

Different Path

Sprint and T-Mobile are transforming themselves as well; however, they are taking a different path. Today, they are strictly wireless carriers and they are now winning more market share, quarter after quarter.

T-Mobile started its recovery first, and it is still showing growth. Sprint is in the middle of a major transformation, and it is in the early stages of showing strong growth.

Smaller carriers like U.S. Cellular, C Spire, Tracfone and others don't seem to be transforming as yet. They might not show rapid change and growth like the big four will. However, anything can happen, so keep your eyes on all the players.

Handset Makers Are a Mixed Bag

Apple and Samsung are still the strongest players on the handset side. They have been showing innovation over the years, but today it's more a case of fine-tuning -- nothing earthshaking or industry changing.

Google keeps trying with the Nexus. In fact, it now offers its own wireless service as an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, but customers must use the Nexus phone. That limits its potential as a service provider. However, I'll keep my eyes on them.

What to Expect Going Forward

What will the next few years look like in wireless? Things are changing -- that's for sure -- both on the network side and the handset side. Changes in wireless are affecting other industries, like pay TV, retail, healthcare, automotive, home automation and security, and much more.

E-Commerce will play a larger and more important role going forward. Companies in every industry either are going full force, or just dipping their toes in the water. Any way you slice it, there is rapid growth and expansion ahead.

We will use our wireless devices as remote controls for our lives. Today we grab our keys, wallet and smartphone when we leave the house. Tomorrow, we'll only have to grab the smartphone. It will have everything inside it.

What You Should Do

One of the real problems is the language barrier between industries. We saw this with automotive and healthcare in the last few years. Wireless executives don't talk the same language as other industry executives. Each industry has its own special flavor.

This is a hurdle, but it represents a real opportunity for people who have wireless industry experience today. They can take their wireless know-how to other industries and help them grow and integrate with the wireless world.

That can mean huge new opportunities for other industries, for the wireless industry, and for individuals. The next few years will be filled with chaos and transformation. However, they also will be filled with innovation and change.

The next few years will provide special opportunities for customers, executives, workers and investors. Of course, not every company will be a winner. The trick is knowing where to place your bet. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-comcast-is-threatened-by-directv-here-s-why

Jeff Kagan: This is Why Comcast is Threatened by DirecTV

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          November 9, 2015 11:37AM   

Tickers Mentioned: VZ T TWC CMCSA CTL CHTR

Why is Comcast Corporation (CMCSA)  trying to downplay what is occurring at DirecTV? The reason may be that DirecTV is now on steroids, and it's a much stronger competitor. Increasingly, reporters, investors and customers are asking why Comcast is saying in their advertising that there is nothing new, and itís just the same old thing at DirecTV. The fact is nothing could be further from the truth. DirecTV can now deliver television over the AT&T (T)  Mobility wireless network over smartphones and tablets. That changes everything.

So why is Comcast doing this? I would say the reason is likley that they are worried about losing customers. I think they must be saying this to confuse the customer at a time when the entire industry is going through a major innovative transformation. Comcast must think that the longer the customer remains confused, the longer they stay put.

Letís take a closer look at the new DirecTV, pull the camera back and take a longer-term look at the larger television space and how all the changes with wireless and broadband are affecting all the players.

Traditional Television is Changing

Bottom line, the television experience is changing. It is moving toward TV anywhere, anytime, on any device. We used to have to come home and sit in our couch with our remote control in hand in order to watch TV.

However, that experience is increasingly changing and expanding. We can now also watch television over the wireless network anywhere in the United States, on our smartphone, tablet or smartwatch. Or over any Internet connection like at the coffee shop, airport or hotel.

This changes everything. Itís a huge leap forward in technology and customer expectation and the variety of services companies can deliver. However, only a few competitors actually do this so far, and that seems to be a growing problem.

Rather than everyone jumping into this new area, many competitors are trying to slow the transformation down to give them a chance to catch-up. Is that what Comcast is doing with their television advertising campaign?

It All Started with IPTV like Uverse, FiOS and Prism

It all started a decade ago when AT&T Uverse, Verizon (VZ) FiOS and CenturyLink (CTL) Prism got into the IPTV business and started competing with the traditional cable television industry. Then it expanded and now AT&T Uverse and Verizon FiOS let customers watch TV at home or out and about on their smartphones over the wireless network.

This put intense competitive pressure on traditional cable TV companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Charter (CHTR)  and Cox. They dabbled in wireless several years ago when they acquired spectrum. Unfortunately, that was a disaster.

Next, they sold their spectrum to Verizon Wireless and have been using them as their wireless carrier to try and keep up with the phone company television offering.

DirecTV Is Immediate Threat to Comcast

Now AT&T acquired DirecTV and that changes everything. In addition Verizon rolled out their Go90 TV service as well. That means there is plenty of new thinking and new ideas in the industry that are changing everything.

However, according to the Comcast advertising, apparently AT&T DirecTV is the most immediate threat. Why? Because AT&T just acquired DirecTV and now also letís their customers watch television over the AT&T Mobility wireless network on smartphones and tablets. This supercharges DirecTV and letís AT&T compete on a national scale in television.

DirecTV on Steroids Changes Everything

So the big threat to Comcast is now AT&T, and DirecTV can compete with them on a national scale and not be limited to just within their region of the USA. This, combined with their wireless delivery of television over smartphones and tablets have given DirecTV a competitive advantage.

Until AT&Tís acquisition of DirecTV, the satellite television providers had their back up against the wall. DirecTV and DISH Network only delivered television to the home. However, the television marketplace is growing and changing, and that was no longer enough.

Now, DirecTV is back in the game using the AT&T Mobility network, and DISH Network is the only satellite service without a wireless offering. I think this must be fixed for DISH to grow.

Comcast Two-Pronged Approach

Now that AT&T DirecTV is posing such a threat to the cable television industry, it is interesting to see how they are reacting. Comcast seems to be threatened. They seem to be worried this will cost them more market share.

So Comcast is taking a two-pronged approach to battle AT&T DirecTV. One, they have notified Verizon Wireless that they intend to work with them and come up with a competitive offering. Two, in order to slow customer loss during this period, they seem to be confusing the customer with their television advertising hoping a confused mind stays put.

Comcast Looks to Confuse TV Consumers

So as you can see, Comcast saying there isnít anything new, and DirecTV is just the same old thing is simply not true, since DirecTV now offers television over the wireless network to be watched over smartphones and tablets. However, the average customer may not understand the changes that are occurring in the television space with cable TV, IPTV, wireless TV, web TV and more. The average customer doesnít follow the changes in the space that closely yet. And thatís part of the problem.

So from a pure marketing perspective, Comcast is doing what it should be doing by confusing the marketplace in order to protect itís business from loss to DirecTV. Comcast investors wonít have a problem with this.

However, from the customerís perspective, Comcast is creating confusion where there is none. They are keeping customers from enjoying new technology and innovation...and that's wrong.

When the customer catches on to what Comcast is doing, I fear they will not be so forgiving. So let the customer have the facts, and let them decide. Thatís the American way.  

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          November 9, 2015 11:37AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-comcast-is-threatened-by-directv-here-s-why#sthash.bwpnIJWZ.dpuf

 

 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151109/opinion/blackberry-saved-by-new-priv-phone-kagan

Kagan: Will Priv save BlackBerry?

By Jeff Kagan  on November 9, 2015   Devices, Opinion

The brand new Blackberry Priv has now been launched on the AT&T Mobility network. The next question is will it succeed in the smartphone marketplace against the Apple iPhone and Android competitors? Letís take a closer look at the Priv, at Blackberry and at what they will look like going forward whether this new device is successful.

Once upon a time, Blackberry was the leader of the smartphone sector. That was before both Apple iPhone and Google Android stepped in and changed everything a few years ago. At first, Blackberryís arrogant attitude didnít see iPhone and Android as a threat, even though I, and many others, warned them time and time again.

BlackBerry thought they were invincible

By the time they understood what was happening, it was too late. They could not stop the loss momentum, which consumed the company. Every new idea and product that was launched since, failed.

Two years ago they brought in John Chen as CEO to shake things up and help BlackBerry recover. He has introduced several new ideas since his arrival, however, they too have all flopped.

Will Priv succeed?

So will Priv be successful? The answer is, it is quite possible this could be the device that could make the difference. In fact, this partnership with Android should have happened years ago.

The reason is two-fold. One, this is a Google Android device and users will have access to all the Android apps. This gives it the potential to be as successful as any other Android phone. This was always a weakness with Blackberry beforeÖ not enough apps to attract users.

Two, Blackberry is quite possibly the most secure device on the market. Thatís a big plus, especially as we are moving toward a time filled with more data loss. We are looking for solutions. Blackberry could be one solution.

Security is the BlackBerry ace in the hole

Plus, BlackBerry still is known as the security device. Many users donít think they need this kind of security. However, every business and government customer understands the threat and the challenge. Thatís a great place to start. Can they be successful is the real question.

If they can market and advertise this strength to the marketplace and stir things up, then perhaps they can start a new growth curve. Letís hope. I have heard very little from them in recent years.

As security continues to be a growing concern in the headlines on a regular basis, this is good news for Blackberry. They could indeed make a dent in the marketplace and grow from there.

However, we have to wait and see what happens and hope for the best.

What if Priv fails?

If Priv fails, what will Blackberry look like going forward? John Chen has been building the BlackBerry software business just in case. This is what most people donít understand yet. BlackBerry could have a future as a software enhancement to other smartphones from other makers.

This could give other smartphones the ability to be as secure as BlackBerry. Again, as the security problem continues to get worse all the time, perhaps this is an area that Blackberry can grow.

Why not both?

Perhaps if the Priv is successful, it will launch a number of follow up devices with the beloved BlackBerry keyboard and security. If so, this could be the start of a BlackBerry renewal.

Perhaps BlackBerry could do both at the same time; offer their own devices and offer their software to competitorís devices.

Blackberry like Qualcomm

This was the choice that Qualcomm made years ago. They were in the handset business, but changed and became a software company inside of many competing smartphones. They changed themselves from a handset company to a software company very rapidly.

So the future for BlackBerry is not as bleak and dire as many have written about. There are possibilities. There is a definite chance if they make the right moves now. They will have to improve and expand their outreach with the analyst and media community if they are to stand a chance.

If BlackBerry is going to make Priv successful, they must do it now. Changes must be made to the way they interact and work with the analyst and media community. If they stand a chance to be successful, now is the right time to make the right moves. If so, then maybe, just maybe, Blackberry will rise once again. Good luck John Chen.

 


   

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/kagan-paypal-must-update-brand-identity-or-die

Kagan: PayPal Must Update Brand Identity or Die

By  Jeff Kagan

November 2, 2015 11:47AM   

Tickers Mentioned: AAPL NOK BBRY T GOOG

Today, PayPal ($PYPL) is number one in the mobile and digital payment space. However, for them to stay there, changes must be made. New competitors are rapidly moving in, changing and expanding the entire space. So, PayPal must change and expand the meaning of their brand in the mind of the marketplace, for customers, merchants and investors.

I believe new PayPal CEO Dan Schulman understands the tidal wave of change that is starting to transform the entire segment. He understands that the digital payment space is expanding to the mobile world and will continue to change and become much more over the next few years.

The Challenge Facing PayPal

When the average user hears the name PayPal, they think of it on a completely different level than credit cards. In fact, they think of PayPal on a completely different level than Apple (AAPL) Pay or Google Pay as well. Yet, as the industry transforms, PayPal must decide which category they want to play in, and rapidly grow and evolve their brand.

PayPal must expand their brand and increase their credibility in the consumers mind. If not, I fear they will be destined to remain at a lower level as the industry grows around them.

PayPal Must Update Their Brand

While PayPal may be the oldest and most established mobile and digital payment provider, if you zoom out back you can see the massive industry-wide expansion and transformation.

There will be changes in the way we think of PayPal, and in fact, the entire industry segment. New competitors like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, CurrentC and others are presenting a real threat to the status quo...and PayPal is the status quo.

We are still in the very early innings of this brand new game. As new competitors rapidly enter this space, they have the potential to transform things the same way the iPhone and Android transformed the smartphone space. Remember how they sent past leaders like Nokia (NOK) and Blackberry (BBRY)  to the woodshed a few years ago?

Things can change quickly, so you must continue to ride the wave...or it will leave you behind.

PayPal Must Think Like an Upstart

Could the same thing happen to PayPal? Thatís the threat. The PayPal position has several pros and cons. They must re-resh, expand and update their older brand. Age has itís own pros and cons. On one hand, age means stability and longevity. On the other hand, age could also mean stiffness and resistance to change.

Thatís why PayPal must think and act like a young and aggressive upstart to compete effectively with new competitors.

These kinds of challenges have occurred before. Some companies have done well refreshing the brand. Others have not.

AT&T (T)  is a success story. As the telecom industry was struggling through an era of transformation more than a decade ago, SBC the local phone company based in San Antonio Texas rapidly acquired BellSouth, Cingular and AT&T. Next they changed the name of this new giant to AT&T.

So, the rapidly growing AT&T of today is not the same company it was a decade ago. This is a powerful success story to study. AT&T refreshed the brand. They updated the technology and the offerings as the industry did the same. Plus, they updated the well known (but tired) brand.

What Else Must PayPal Do?

This is the kind of updating and expanding PayPal must do to both their offerings and to their brand identity.

Without the update and refresh of both, the mobile payment space could fly past them in a mad rush. However, if PayPal can update both their technology and their brand identity, they could continue to be an important leader in this space.

One thing is for sure, there will be more competition, and the mobile payment space will continue to rapidly change and expand. The future looks much larger and stronger than ever before. PayPal can be a leader in this space, however, there will also be plenty of powerful brand name players who today capture the imagination like Apple and Google (GOOG) .

Does Dan Schulman understand these new challenges and the new opportunities? I have watched him over time and I believe he does. He may have just what PayPal needs to transform as the industry transforms. However weíll have to watch them going forward.

PayPal must focus on innovation in order to continue to be a leader in the space. Their past is strong, and their present also looks solid. However, with all the new competitors and innovation changing the space, the future is still a question mark.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan  +Follow          November 2, 2015 11:47AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/kagan-paypal-must-update-brand-identity-or-die#sthash.iF6gLlaD.dpuf

 

 

 

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Kagan: How Marcelo Claure is fixing Sprint

By Jeff Kagan  on November 2, 2015   Business, Carriers, Opinion

Youíve got to love it when an entrepreneur runs a public company. When Marcelo Claure became CEO at Sprint last year, he may not have understood all the work ahead of him. However, he is attacking it like a true entrepreneur. Every company has ups and downs, and Sprint is no exception. During the last decade Ė starting with the Nextel acquisition Ė Sprint fell off the growth track and struggled. The company needed to be reinvented on the services, innovation and brand awareness sides. It also needed to increase earnings and decrease costs. So letís take a look at how they are doing so far.

Remember, Sprint is under new management after being majority acquired a couple of years ago by Japanese company SoftBank. Last summer Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son brought in Marcelo Claure as new CEO of Sprint. Claure was CEO of Brightstar, which he built from the ground up.

During the last year under Claure, Sprint has been showing vibrant new thinking. It started introducing new ideas and services into the marketplace, which have so far been successful. The company is also moving on serious cost-cutting efforts.

Recovery not overnight proposition

I have been following Sprint and all its competitors for quite a long time. I have seen plenty of ups and downs over that time. I think as long as the right decisions are made around both growth and cost-cutting, the Sprint recovery should continue.

Recovery is not an overnight proposition, it takes time and effort. However, we can see Claure working, step-by-step, to turn Sprint around. Making the right choices along the way is key Ė what new services to introduce and what cuts to make.

The right moves can help accelerate a turnaround, just as the wrong moves can hinder a turnaround. So making the right moves, offering the right new products and cutting the right costs are all key. The challenge is to strengthen the company without removing value to the customer and the investor.

Winners and losers

Turnarounds are not easy and they are not quick. We have seen many companies both succeed and fail. Some recoveries last and others are only short term. Staying on the right path and making the right moves is always of the utmost importance.

For example, T-Mobile US has been on a successful path during the last few years. It has shown early signs of recovery. It was crashing and burning. Then, under new leadership and new ideas, it began a recovery, which takes time. However, it seems to be heading in the right direction.

Another example: Motorola was once a leader in the wireless handset space, but lost its way in the late 1990ís when it was replaced by Nokia and BlackBerry. While it made a temporary comeback several years later with the Razr, that recovery didnít last. Several years later, both Nokia and BlackBerry lost their lead to Apple iPhone and Google Android and have not shown recovery.

Sprint recovery on track

As for Sprint, while there are no long-term guarantees, I think investors, customers and workers must be pleased with what they see so far from Claure. The carrier seems to be on the right track but it is still very early in the recovery process Ė it will take time and work.

Claure enjoyed building Brightstar. However, he must consider this Sprint challenge on an entirely different level. Itís like being a successful golfer at your local club, then suddenly playing with the masters at The Masters. The lessons he learned in the past will let him take a fresh approach to the wireless opportunity. He is learning how running a larger company like Sprint differs from a smaller company like Brightstar. However his outsider approach and vision may bring just the new kind of mix that Sprint needs going forward.

Winning is infectious

The good news is Claure likes to win and that is infectious to the entire organization. As I talk with Sprint workers I sense a renewed capacity and excitement. If this is true, then the next several years of recovery should transform Sprint into a vibrant and growing company once again.

Sprint has a strong amount of wireless spectrum, which puts it in a very good competitive position. So rather than investing billions of dollars to acquire more spectrum, which it doesnít yet need, it is focusing time and money on improving the speed and quality of its network, area by area, coast to coast.

The purpose is to make Sprint a loved and attractive competitor once again. As long as the carrier makes the right moves now, I believe it can successfully transform the company and turn it into a growth engine once again. Itís a lot of work, but success is within its grasp. Weíll have to keep our eyes on Sprint and the moves it makes going forward.

Wireless industry is changing

We all know that Sprint is changing. However, if we pull the camera back we see the entire wireless industry is also now changing. We are in a time of historic transformation, which presents new opportunities and challenges for every player in the space.

Industry after industry is working with wireless to transform what they do. Just think about automotive, health care, retail and so on. In fact, the pay-TV industry is reinventing itself with wireless. Just look at how AT&T Mobility is changing DirecTV and creating new growth opportunities by letting users watch TV on their smartphones or tablets over the wireless network.

With this move, every competitor in the pay-TV space is under the gun to provide a similar and competitive offering. This is all thanks to wireless and the changes it is bringing to every aspect of our lives. This is just one of many opportunities the wireless industry is bringing to reality. This is great for the entire industry and individual competitors.

Conclusion

Full recovery at Sprint will take time, but I think, so far, they are making the right moves. Weíll have to keep our eyes on them going forward. Sprint and, in fact, the entire wireless industry are starting to look different going forward thanks to the changing and expanding industry opportunities.

Just like during the last decade when smartphones like iPhone and Android changed the industry, we are seeing transformation in wireless start all over again in new and expanded directions. And I believe this is just what entrepreneur Claure sees when he looks at Sprintís future.

business Carriers Sprint

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

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http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/When-Innovation-Misfires-82678.html

ANALYST CORNER

When Innovation Misfires

By Jeff Kagan

Oct 29, 2015 10:53 AM PT

Innovation is not always good -- it can backfire. Good innovation helps to grow a brand in the marketplace and results in more customer love. Bad innovation does the opposite. Companies would be better off doing nothing than innovating badly.

When Innovation Misfires

Many public companies innovate on a regular basis because they think they have to. After all, they must keep their investors happy. That means they must increase sales and revenue, year after year. That's a pressure all public companies share, and it often results in a shorter-term view of the world.

Private companies don't face that same pressure. They often are happy with the regular ups and downs of business, keeping their eye on the long term. Smaller companies would like to grow on a regular basis, but that growth is not expected or needed, since they have no pressure from investors.

The Fickleness of Investors

There are many companies that don't innovate on a regular basis, yet they remain strong competitors in their space. A look at their catalog each year often shows the same items. They tweak here and there, but they keep their winners in place.

Public companies seem to think they need to reinvent and radically change and improve every year in order to continue to attract investors. The problem is that it's very difficult to do -- and when they screw up, they lose customers and market share.

The pressure to innovate comes from the investors. Without constant growth, they will simply invest their money elsewhere for greater return. This is what keeps public companies thinking short-term instead of engaging in good, solid, long-term thinking.

Resisting the impulse to innovate for its own sake and innovating well when the circumstances are right are key to long-term success.

Poor Innovation Examples

There are generally three types of innovation: good, bad, and a little of both.

Bad innovation caused Lands' End to lose customers -- I'm one example. I loved Lands' End belts. Every spring I would buy several different colors. However, this year the belts changed. They are thinner and stretch too much and no longer hold things up. So even though I loved Lands' End yesterday, I no longer buy its belts. Poor innovation resulted in the loss of my business.

Grundig is another company that lost my business, even though it makes great shortwave radios. My Uncle Arthur turned me on to listening to shortwave when I was a teenager. While I was never as big a fan as he, I still do have lots of different shortwave radios around the house. However, Grundig introduced a disappointing innovation. Its radios still work fine, but the rubber-like coating on the outside has become sticky over time, so I no longer use them. Now I am looking at competitors' products.

Apple's iPhone innovations have been both good and bad. Take screen size, for example. Apple determined that customers wanted a larger screen. It now offers large-screen and very large-screen iPhones. The problem is there are many customers who still prefer a smaller screen so they can use one hand. Those customers are out of luck. Every customer base is like a pie with lots of different slices. However, Apple cut out one slice. Not smart.

Samsonite makes great luggage, but it too made a recent bad innovation decision. Years ago, it made a four-wheeler with rear wheels that popped out. It was perfect, because you could simply push the suitcase with a finger rather than having to lug the beast around. Then it stopped making that product. It recently came out with a similar version, but it screwed up the design. Now the handle has a button in the middle, right where you place your hand to push. The result is that when you push the handle, you're likely to depress the button -- and the handle collapses. How could Samsonite goof on something so basic?

Innovation Is Not Always Improvement

The word "innovation" implies better or stronger -- but that's not always the case. Companies mistakenly think they constantly need to innovate -- but that's not true. It's better to keep a solid customer base with no innovation than to screw up with bad innovation and weaken your base.

The secret to innovation -- for both public and private companies -- is that if it doesn't result in an improvement, it should be scrapped. Period. It's that simple. The perceived need to innovate can ruin a product line, and the costs due to lost brand loyalty can be ruinous.

Everything a company does either builds or tears down its brand. As in the medical field, first do no harm. Don't innovate just to innovate. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151027/opinion/kagan-speaking-at-wireless-in-2016-and-beyond

Kagan: Speaking at Wireless in 2016 and Beyond

By Jeff Kagan  on October 27, 2015   Business, Carriers, Opinion

I would like to thank the Wireless Technology Forum for inviting me to speak at their upcoming Annual Analyst event in Atlanta. The theme of this meeting is ďWireless in 2016 and BeyondĒ. We had a conference call a few days ago to discuss logistics and content. I thought you would be interested in hearing some of the hot topics we discussed. If you are working in, or an investor in the wireless industry, this event may be very interesting indeed.

When consumers and business customers get all excited about all the new features and direction the wireless world moves in, they donít realize that planning and execution started years earlier. This event will focus on whatís coming next. Itís designed for wireless workers and investors.

Conversations with competitors and investors

Increasingly, competitors and investors in wireless and in many different industries have asked me to have a conversation with them about the changes that are reshaping the wireless industry.

There are so many changes which are reshaping this entire wireless industry, and in fact many other industries. Competition is changing. Technology is changing. Customer expectations and demands are changing. Companies are increasingly competing with new competitors as their industry reshapes itself.

Todayís leaders are not guaranteed to be tomorrow leaders. That is both a threat and an opportunity. It is exciting to some executives and keeps others up at night. They must make the right decisions and choices years in advance. There will be plenty of wins and losses going forward.

Growth side of the wave

Understanding the changes, opportunities and risks the wireless industry faces is key to success moving forward for every one of us. Not only must every person and investor in wireless understand where the opportunities are, but they must also follow those opportunities.

Staying on the growth side of the wave is key. Every growth wave has three parts: it grows, it crests, then it falls. Every opportunity rides a similar growth wave. Thatís why successful companies continually create and ride the next wave. That way they can continue to grow, wave after wave.

Thatís why players like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile US continue to change, expand and grow. They create and ride the next growth waves, time and time again. In fact AT&T and Verizon have transformed from local phone companies, to leaders in the wireless, Internet and pay TV space.

Contrast that with players like Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry as they continue to struggle. They didnít have the next wave to grow on. After the growth wave they were riding crested and fell, they struggled.

Leaders and Followers

The marketplace has three places: leaders, followers and those who should simply get out of the way. Leaders take the arrows, and are early movers, but they also shape the direction of the industry changes going forward. Followers come next. They ride on the path the leaders create and they compete. The rest are companies who most likely will struggle and fail.

There are many challenges and risks in wireless, just like in every other industry. However here are also opportunities for rapid growth both in wireless and in many other industries. Just look at how wireless is impacting the automotive industry, retail, healthcare and so on.

Wireless and pay TV

Now look at how wireless is transforming the cable television and IPTV space. Pay TV is no longer just sitting at home watching programming. Pay TV is about watching television on smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, over wireless networks, anytime and anyplace.

The pay TV model is suddenly in the early stages of a major transformation. Who will the leaders be going forward? Thatís the question investors, customers and workers all want an answer to.

Update and expand brand identity

That means companies must both be innovators and they must update and expand their brand identity with the customer. Only succeeding in both areas will they have a chance to be a meaningful competitor going forward.

Leaders of today are not guaranteed to be leaders of tomorrow. Things are going to change. You know how this worksÖ Apple and Google lead the wireless space today, but just a few short years ago leaders were Blackberry, Nokia and Motorola.

Two sides of wireless

The wireless industry is transforming into two different places. We used to think the two sides were networks and handsets. Thatís still so, but now the network side is splitting into two different sides as well.

One side has providers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, and the other side has companies like Sprint and T-Mobile US. All the smaller providers are on the side of Sprint and T-Mobile. There are no rights or wrongs, just different paths.

However, as we move through the next several years we may have to judge companies based on similar competitors and not the entire wireless space.

Toward 5G

We have begun thinking about the next step toward 5G. While 4G has let carriers begin to offer video which is transforming the cable television and IPTV space, by letting users watch TV on their smartphones over the wireless network, 5G will speed up that process by many times.

Changing opportunity for workers and investors

The opportunity for workers and investors is changing. There is plenty of growth inside wireless, but there is also plenty of growth outside as well. Other industries need people with wireless knowledge to make their transformation a reality.

Early on the leaders in other industries will jump on this challenge and have a competitive advantage. They need help from people with wireless know how. Then as the industry matures, it every company will jump in and it will just become the new standard way to do business.

The next step in wireless

This Annual Analyst Event is very popular every year. We look ahead to see whatís coming and what each of us needs to focus on whether we are a worker or an investor.

Each year technology letís them take this even further. Many in the vibrant Atlanta area wireless community will be in the audience, but countless others industry-wide will watch this event live over the Internet. In fact this event may also be available to be seen as a recorded event over the Internet going forward. This makes it so easy to watch anyplace and anytime.

We will discuss this and so much more at the Annual Analyst Event on November 19 at 6pm in Atlanta. Sean Kinney, Managing Editor for RCR Wireless News, will moderate the event. Jorge Fuenzalida, VP and General Manager of Incode Consulting and Perry Walter, Managing Director of HDH Advisors will be speakers as well.

Sprint T-Mobile US Verizon Wireless Wireless

About Author

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-wireless-is-changing-pay-tv

Jeff Kagan: Wireless is Changing Pay TV

By Jeff Kagan 

October 26, 2015 11:26AM   

Tickers Mentioned: VZ T TWC CMCSA CHTR CTL

The wireless industry is transforming cable television and IPTV. Watching television on our smartphone or tablet devices over the wireless network is transforming and expanding the entire space with a new approach that offers TV anytime, anyplace, on any device. Two companies are driving this new trend early on: AT&T (T)  with Uverse and DirecTV, and Verizon (VZ)  with FiOS and Go90. They own and operate both wireless and wire line networks. So far, traditional cable television competitors like Comcast (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Charter Communications, Inc. (CHTR)  and Cox are struggling to keep up.

Next Generation of Pay TV is Wireless

As an industry analyst, many competitors and investors have asked me about tomorrow. However, while all competitors want to know the direction of the industry, only AT&T and Verizon have actually gone about creating this new environment to date. Traditional cable television companies understand the challenges and opportunities, but they are having a much harder time transforming, since they do not own a wireless network.

Some competitors have a strong understanding of the direction of this industry. However, many do not.

We are still in the very early days of this transformation to the next generation of wireless television. While AT&T and Verizon are actively changing the industry, the competitive pressures they bring are forcing the sleepy cable television companies to wake up and update as well. Last week, Comcast notified Verizon Wireless that they intend to be a player in this space. They are ready to cash in on the promise Verizon made to them as part of the acquisition of the cable TV wireless spectrum several years ago. If Comcast is taking this step, could Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox be far behind?

Creation of New Industry Sector

Watching a new service and in fact a new industry sector be created from merging two completely different industries is very exciting for investors and customers. In fact, if you pull the camera back, it is exciting for the entire pay TV industry, as we are seeing change and growth. However, the other side of this same coin is the threat and risk associated with this transformation. Not every competitor will thrive going forward.

There are also challenges like limited wireless spectrum, which is the on ramp to this information service. So a real challenge for investors and customers is trying to determine who the leaders will be going forward? Remember when AOL and Prodigy were leaders in the Internet back in the 1990ís? Now, leaders in that space are telephone companies and cable television companies. Could we be seeing the same kind of transformation beginning as we blend wireless and pay TV?

Wireless and IPTV Taking Cable TV by Surprise

The entire cable television industry is moving toward IPTV and wireless. Can Cable TV companies hang on while strong and innovative competitors are moving in and taking share? The Pay TV space is suddenly changing so quickly itís taken the entire cable TV side by surprise.

The transformation started a decade ago when AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) started to offer their IPTV services called Uverse, FiOS and Prism. IPTV is not cable television, itís television over the Internet. Today, only AT&T and Verizon are in a leadership position in this new space combining IPTV and wireless on their own networks.

Competitors Ask Me Important Questions

Several competitors on both sides of this battle have asked me: What the direction of the changing industry? They are either looking for new ways to expand, or, if they are losing, how to slow and reverse their losses. After a conversation, the result is still the same. The basics of the pay TV industry are changing, and either you change with it, or you will be in trouble.

In addition, every competitor needs to focus on two areas: the actual technology, and updating and expanding their brand in the customer's mind. Youíve got to win at both in order to be a player going forward. Performing in only one of these areas wonít cut it.

Expanding and Updating the Brand

Over the last few years, we have seen IPTV take market share from the traditional cable TV space. In fact, we are now starting to see traditional cable television companies make similar moves into IPTV like Comcast with Xfinity. Only now are cable television competitors thinking wireless as the next step.

While this is important, players must also change, update and expand their brand identity as well or the actual technology changes wonít matter. What does the customer think and feel about you? Are you an innovator or are you stuck in yesterdayís technology? You must be seen as an innovator in order to continue to grow.

Every company and every product category travels the growth wave. It increases, crests then decreases. If a company is to continue to grow and lead going forward, they must create new growth waves rather than just ride the one they are on today rise, crest and fall with nothing coming next.

Competition is Changing

Yesterday, competition in the television space was limited to television. However, as the wireless industry continues to get faster and better it can handle video streaming. So, suddenly we see customers watching television on their wireless devices over the wireless network. This transformation is radically and rapidly changing the space, as we blend wireless and pay TV. Moves to 5G will only accelerate this level of change.

Satellite TV providers like DirecTV and DISH Network were television only. That is why they both started to lose market share in recent years. AT&T recently acquired DirecTV and I expect this duo to show rapid growth going forward since they offer TV and wireless together.

Dish on the other hand is still on their own with no wireless service for customers to watch TV. I think it will be interesting to watch whatever moves they eventually make going forward. They must do something soon. Is there an acquisition or partnership in the future for this company? I hope so.

Traditional cable TV companies are also at a disadvantage. Most only offer traditional television. Major providers like Comcast have a simple relationship with Verizon Wireless to date. While that was good, as innovation continues they need more. Weíll have to wait and see what they do next.

With innovation from AT&T and Verizon, we will likely see competitors like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox move into this new area. There are plenty of large and small cable television companies. I believe some will transform and others will not. The only question is, which will do well, and which wonít?

Since cable TV companies sold their wireless stake to Verizon Wireless several years ago, they are out in the cold right now. They must work more closely with the wireless industry in order to continue to be competitive.

All Competitors Must Update Brand and Technology

The wireless and television industry have begun a major and rapid transformation. Itís so important to get started yesterday. Thereís no time to waste.

The investor has the challenge of choosing the winning companies. The customer has the challenge of choosing the right vendor that will give them what they want as this opportunity unfolds. These are the days when we are shaping this new and combined industry for future growth.

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

There will be leaders, followers and the rest should just get out of the way. Which companies will fall into which category is the challenge whether you are a customer or an investor. The entire industry is in the very early stages of a great transformation. We are watching a new star being born in the universe.

Each player must update their technology and their brand. Without doing both, I believe they wonít succeed. We donít yet know whom the winners and losers will be, but things will continue to change going forward. Right now, providers of television, combined with wireless like AT&T and Verizon seem to be the winners, and in the driverís seat of this changing industry.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          October 26, 2015 11:26AM 

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Jeff Kagan: Why it's Essential to Prepare for Cybersecurity Threats

By Jeff Kagan 

October 19, 2015 11:11AM   

Tickers Mentioned: HD TGT T

With all the recent break-ins at businesses and government agencies, cybersecurity should be on everyoneís radar. E-commerce is an opportunity that is too great to ignore, but there is also a huge security threat on the other side of that same coin. AT&T ($T) just released a new report called, ďWhat Every CEO Needs to Know About CybersecurityĒ. Read it. You can thank me later.

This report is a great first step, and will help you better understand the challenging issues that change on a continual basis. It was distributed during the AT&T Analyst Summit a few weeks ago. They gave us a copy and I read it on the way home.

Itís powerful. I would recommend every executive get and read this material. Whether you are knee deep into the cybersecurity battle, or a senior level executive who just wants to better understand the issues, this is a must read report.

The Threat Continues

I would bet executives at Target Corporation ($TGT), Home Depot ($HD), the US Government and countless other companies and agencies wished they had this report before they got hit. News reports this morning say that China is still at it as well, even after the recent agreement between President Obama and the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

E-commerce is a great new opportunity. However, it is also ripe for the threat of cybersecurity nightmares. It is ready to attack both your company and your customers. Getting smart on cybersecurity is one of the most important steps you can take going forward.

You Must Understand Cybersecurity

We hear about security issues and data theft on a regular basis. Cybersecurity is in the news on a regular basis. Large and important brand name companies and government agencies are being hit on a regular basis. The list continues to grow.

When the first corporate and government break-ins were announced, they were stunning. Now, they are starting to happen so frequently that itís becoming a regular course of business. However, those in charge of protecting corporate, business and personal information are very concerned.

So, how do companies protect their most valued brand and customer relationships? How do they protect their value on Wall Street?

Not Too Late

Itís not too late. In fact, we are still just in the first inning of this new ball game. Hopefully your company or government agency is already working hard at managing this new threat. If not, today is the next best time to jump in. And when I say today, I mean today...not tomorrow.

The need for strong cyber security is only growing over time for large companies, small companies, governments and individuals. If thatís the case, how do we protect our companies, our brands, our customers and our relationships with our customers? These are just some of the important challenges companies face today.

The threat many executives fear is that if they screw this up and the customer gets hurt, will they survive? Think about it...itís a very important question.

Think of todayís E-commerce marketplace like a brand new playing field full of opportunities and threats. Threats can be successfully managed, but it takes lots of man-hours and money to do so. The threat comes from computers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and whatever is coming next.

Take Cybersecurity Threats Seriously

Remember, E-commerce and cybersecurity are two new and very important areas your company must get right. Either that, or you will miss opportunities and be hit by a large and embarrassing incident, the likes of which countless large companies and government agencies are dealing with today.

To remain competitive, you must go down this path full of opportunity and challenge. Itís up to you to manage it all. While it will be well worth your while, itís only going to get worse, so make sure you are prepared.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. 

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          October 19, 2015 11:11AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-why-it-s-essential-to-prepare-for-cybersecurity-threats#sthash.J5RoOag6.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151019/opinion/kagan-why-sprint-opted-out-of-wireless-auction-tag25

Kagan: Why Sprint opted out of wireless auction

By Jeff Kagan  on October 19, 2015   Opinion

There has been lotís of speculation about why Sprint opted out of the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. I have received loads of questions from reporters, investors, workers and customers. However, very few actually understand. Is this a sign of strength or weakness? Let me share a few thoughts on why I believe Sprint is doing this and what the results will be.

Itís well known that wireless spectrum is limited and most carriers are concerned about having enough to give their customers the ability to access their network with all their wireless devices. What is less known is that Sprint currently has plenty of wireless spectrum. They got this from a variety of places in the last several years including their Clearwire acquisition.

Sprint choice

Sprint has a choice to make. They are still in the recovery and rebuilding mode. They can either spend billions of dollars buying spectrum they wonít need or use for many years, or they can spend that time and money more rapidly rebuilding their network and improving customer satisfaction today.

The choice Sprint made was to focus on the recovery and rebuild and keeping customers happy today. They have done quite a good job of improving quality and customer satisfaction in many market areas around the country according to survey companies like RootMetrics and J.D. Power. In fact Sprint is now No. 1 in a few markets and are building from there. They are making progress.

With that said, every company has limited resources. They canít do everything they want all at once. No company can. A choice had to be made at Sprint. They could either spend time and billions of dollars to acquire more spectrum they wonít need for years, or they could focus on improving their service and customer satisfaction today. They chose today.

Did Sprint make the right call?

I think they made the right call. Bottom line, a carrier needs to remain relevant and needs to continue to build market share. Sprint can do this by focusing on continuing to improve the customer experience. This is done by focusing on the network and customer satisfaction, not by buying more spectrum they wonít need for years.

Would it have been better if Sprint could do both? Of course it would, but that is not an option for any competitor. No company can do everything they want all at one time. They must create a list and do things in order. Important things take money, brainpower and manpower. And no company has these in unlimited supply. So choices have to be made.

The right choice

So if Sprint had to make a choice like every other company, I think they made the right choice. Now they have to continue on the same recovery and rebuilding path. They must continue to get better and stronger, quarter after quarter.

I have been watching Sprint closely for decades. They fell off the growth curve a decade ago, however during the last couple years they have recovered and have been heading in the right direction for growth. Over the next several years they will be focused on recovery and growth. If this continues, I think this decision will be recognized as the right call.

FCC Federal Communications Commission Spectrum Spectrum Auction Sprint

About Author

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/E-Commerce-Firms-Need-to-Wise-Up-to-Cybercrime-82610.html

ANALYST CORNER

E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime

cybercrime-ecommerce

By Jeff Kagan

Oct 15, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis.

One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."

This report helps business owners and executives understand the growing challenge cybercrime represents for the e-commerce opportunity, and it suggests ways to shore up security. It focuses on important areas that every leader in every company involved with e-commerce must understand.

A Growing Threat

If e-commerce is to work for every company, there is much that people at all levels need to learn and implement. The need for stronger cybersecurity is increasing -- not only for large companies and government institutions, but also for small companies and individuals.

How can companies protect their brands, their customers and their customer relationships? These are just some of the challenges businesses face today.

A threat many companies face is that if they screw up online, customers may never trust them again. That's important. Even if customer trust is restored eventually, the loss of dollars in the meantime could be devastating.

E-commerce is a huge marketplace and a gigantic opportunity. However, it is full of landmines. The cybersecurity threat must be managed.

Large businesses and governments have been dealing with these kinds of threats for decades -- but the threat level is getting worse. As today's networked world opens up loads of new growth opportunities, corporate espionage, industrial cyberspying and cyberthefts -- both of data and money -- are increasing at an alarming pace.

Threats come from cybercriminals all over the world -- foreign governments, competitors, hackers and more.

No Simple Solution

A few recent examples of companies and government agencies that have been attacked: Target, Home Depot, Anthem, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Staples, Sony, Adobe and Ashley Madison. These are just some of the most high-profile incidents. Countless smaller intrusions occur on a daily basis.

There is no simple solution. You can't simply flip a switch and protect yourself. Cybersecurity is an ongoing and never-ending challenge. Cyber-risk will be with us always, and it will grow relentlessly.

Consumers have been doing business with companies like Amazon for years, without experiencing any major cybersecurity disaster. That may give them a false sense of security. Some e-commerce companies do a good job, but most don't.

E-Commerce picks up speed every quarter. The cybersecurity problems that have become public are only a small portion of the actual threat -- it's likely many others remain undetected. Cybercrimes can be difficult to discover -- there are no broken windows or busted locks. By the time the alarm is raised, the damage is done.

This is not a temporary problem. The choice is simple -- all businesses either must invest in protecting customer data on an ongoing basis, or face the ever-increasing risk of being hit with a devastating loss. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-are-comcast-twc-improving

Jeff Kagan: Are Comcast, TWC Improving?

By Jeff Kagan

October 12, 2015 12:52PM   

As a customer of both Comcast Corporation ($CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable ($TWC) at two different locations, I have the unique ability to offer comment on both as an Industry Analyst and as a customer. While both are cable TV companies, they are not equal. Comcast started focusing on improving their customer relationships a couple years ago. TWC is starting that journey now. So where are they in this process as competition grows?

Comcast realized they didnít have a good and strong relationship with their customer base when they started losing market share to the competition several years ago. Companies like AT&T ($T) Uverse and DirecTV, Verizon ($VZ) FiOS and Centurylink ($CTL) Prism have been taking market share away from the cable television industry at an alarming rate.

IPTV is Winning Market Share from Cable TV

Comcast has improved in several areas, but they are still having problems. Comcast offers high-speed Internet service both up and down stream. They also offer an advanced Xfinity service, which is more like IPTV than traditional cable TV.

So, Comcast is improving their services, but they are just not making headway winning the hearts of customers. In fact, they recently relaunched their campaign to improve their relationship with users once again this summer. Will they have better luck this time? Not unless certain things change.

Time Warner Cable is having itís own set of problems with customers. TWC recently launched an advertising campaign to win the hearts of their customers. Their television ads spell out the problems customers have with the company to date, and offers promises that things will get better.

While I am happy to see that TWC recognizes the problem, the same question arisesÖwill things actually get better for customers?

TWC offers a more basic cable television service. TWC Internet service is not as fast as Comcast. Their fastest service is doable for most users with decent download speeds on faster services. However, the sending portion is still at a very slow speed. This makes using IPTV difficult for a TWC user.

Are Comcast and TWC Getting Better?

The problem with both Comcast and Time Warner Cable is that they donít seem to have any real desire to improve their relationships with the customer. Instead, they see this as a way to stem the loss of market share, not really to improve the lives of users.

What they should do is something like what Dan Hesse did with Sprint Corp ($S) a few years ago when he was CEO. The ads were brilliant. Hesse told us Sprint had problems, but was now on a strong path toward recovery. He invited us along on the journey to improvement. He got the user closer to the company, and made the user feel that they were on the same side as the company.

Can Cable TV Improve?

Cable television CEOís could do the same thing. The CEOs of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox and others could talk to the customer base in front of the world. They should tell customers they get it. They should tell them they're sorry for the way they were treated for decades.

They should tell them they now realize that the customer should have been respected and taken better care of. They should tell them they know this, because the customers are leaving. They should tell them they are working to improve things, win them over and get them on their side.

If the CEOs of all cable television companies would do this, I believe it would be the new start they are searching for with customers. This makes a lot of sense, rather than just being...well, a typical cable television company, and ignoring the obvious.

Cable TV Elephant in the Room

Hey, cable TV companies, there is an elephant in the room. Until the cable television industry admits to this fact, and fixes the problem, I donít think they will be successful. The solution seems simple.

Of course, the next step would actually be to improve the customer relationship. Take better care of your users. Get your customers to care about you. If not, you will instantly be tossed to the woodpile.

However, it worked for wireless with Sprint. It worked with other companies, and I believe it would work for cable TV as well. So why not give it a try? After all, what do they have to lose?

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          October 12, 2015 12:52PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-are-comcast-twc-improving#sthash.oP9ruNPm.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151012/opinion/wi-fi-calling-att-kagan

Kagan: AT&T Mobility launches Wi-Fi calling

By Jeff Kagan  on October 12, 2015   Carriers, Opinion, Wi-Fi

AT&T Mobility just announced the Federal Communications Commission has given it approval to offer Wi-Fi calling to customers on smartphones. This will start with the iPhone 6 and 6S, and I expect it to spread to other devices as well. While I am very happy that AT&T has been approved to do this for their customers, why the heck did the FCC take so long to approve it? Especially since Sprint and T-Mobile US already do it and didnít have to go through the same arduous process.

AT&T customers can now make a call using Wi-Fi. Typically the wireless network is fine more times than not, however there are plenty of times when you get a weak signal like inside a building or elevator. If simply using Wi-Fi would solve this problem, why not allow every carrier to offer this to customers? It makes perfect sense.

In fact this solution has been around for a while. It started with Sprint and T-Mobile US. So if thatís the case, why did the government delay approval for AT&T and Verizon? Good question.

Now, AT&T Mobility has gotten approval and is entering the space. Iíll bet Verizon Wireless will jump onto the same bandwagon soon, since not being there will be a competitive disadvantage. Typically Verizon Wireless is a latecomer to most every party.

Wireless is a fast growing industry

Wireless is one of the healthiest, fastest growing and most rapidly changing industries. In this world, government regulations simply cannot keep up. The wireless industry time clock spins like a rabbit and the government regulatory time clock spins like a turtle. Things have always been that way.

However, this time the issue is both Sprint and T-Mobile US were permitted to sell this Wi-Fi connection for a while, before the same approval was given to AT&T and Verizon. Why? I am thankful for Sprint and T-Mobile US, but why the delay for AT&T and Verizon?

This needless delay has caused 70% of American citizens to have problems connecting in certain locations when this could have been averted. That delay by federal regulators hurt users for no good reason.

Why government moves slow

The government does not need to have their hands in every corner of every industry. Wireless innovation should be given free rein. If something doesnít work, the companies will know it and fix it faster than the government gives them credit for.

The reason this works is simple: If they donít, they will lose customers. No company wants to lose customers. So they act so much more quickly in a free market.

However, when the government steps in, things slow down to a snails pace for no reason. Itís not like we actually have anything at risk if the carriers were allowed to simply do this at their discretion. Itís not like we are ingesting a poison that could harm us. This is simply innovation and capitalism.

Companies should be allowed to be more innovative, more quickly to solve industry problems and grow market share. They shouldnít have to walk slowly over a slow moving government minefield. So come on government, get off the backs of innovative companies in wireless and every other industry who want to change the world. Donít keep throwing a heavy blanket over the whole space making everyone run on government time.

Let innovation thrive. Thatís how you change the world. Wireless has done a pretty darn good job so far thank you very much.

Editorís note: RCR Wireless News policy correspondent Jeff Hawn has covered the back-and-forth between AT&T and the FCC. A major issue is the inability of Wi-Fi calling to support the standard teletypewriter requirement, which is a method of allowing for text-based calls to accommodate people with hearing problems. T-Mobile US and Sprint launched the service without TTY functionality, whereas AT&T has developed a Wi-Fi compatible alternative, but asked the FCC to approve the use of that feature prior to a commercial launch. Read more here and here.

About Author

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-thoughts-on-att-analyst-summit

Jeff Kagan: Thoughts on AT&T Analyst Summit

By Jeff Kagan

October 5, 2015 11:31AM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ TMUS S CTL CMCSA TWC CHTR AAPL DTV

Last week, I attended the AT&T (T) Analyst Summit at their headquarters in Dallas. This is their regular get-together,with the industry analyst community. Let me share some thoughts I have on AT&T after that meeting: Where they were, where they are today, and where they are heading tomorrow.

While I wonít discuss items in detail, I will share my take on AT&Tís current position, and their direction going forward. I think this is important to investors, customers, workers, competitors and partners alike.

Very Impressed with AT&T

First, let me say that I am very impressed with what I learned about AT&T at this meeting, which focused both on consumer and business. I already knew much of what they discussed, since I have followed AT&T for so many years. However, to hear and see it discussed in whole, rather than one piece at a time, really helped to create an inspiring vision of the company today, and going forward.

I have followed AT&T and AT&T Mobility for quite a long time as part of a larger, changing industry. I follow companies in wireless, wire line, television, Internet and communications technology, on the network side, handset side, equipment side and web side.

Some of AT&Tís direct competitors include Verizon Wireless (VZ) , Sprint Corp (S) , T-Mobile (TMUS) , US Cellular Corp (USM) , C Spire Wireless, Centurylink Inc. (CTL) , Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) , Cox, and many others large and small companies.

Some of these competitors offer services in single sectors, and others in a variety of sectors. However, today I would say that AT&T is operating in more sectors than any other competitor. The only other company that comes close is Verizon, however as time passes, it appears AT&T and Verizon are on different growth tracts. In the past, the two companies were in the same telephone sector, but moving forward, while they still have many similarities, they also have significant differences. We may have to stop comparing them to each other.

AT&T Has Expanded and Grown

AT&T has grown and expanded over time. Yesterday, they were just a telephone company selling long distance in a single segment. Today, they are in many different segments including post-paid and pre-paid wireless, wire line, television with Uverse and DirecTV, Mexican wireless, household automation and security, a large array of business services helping other companies in many industries modernize through wireless, and more.

AT&T is a Change Agent

When considering all competitors, only some of them are strong, growing companies. Others are keeping up with the changes that are reshaping the industry. However only a few are early adopters. The rest seem to be dragged along kicking and screaming, large and small.

Few competitors are industry movers and shakers - change agents that are redefining the industry segments they play in. However, AT&T is one of them. They are transforming themselves. Competitors generally follow this changing path.

What Has Changed Over The Last Decade

Think about the last decade. Over this time, AT&T has taken a leadership position. They are one of the few companies that have reshaped the direction of different industry segments. They took on this role after SBC acquired AT&T, Bellsouth and Cingular more than a decade ago.

AT&T is typically first into different industries and businesses. Once they have grown in a new sector, competitors follow.

AT&T was the first to focus on smartphones, the first Apple, Inc. (AAPL)  iPhone carrier, the first to offer IPTV television with their Uverse service and now DirecTV nationwide, Digital Life and home automation and security. They are also helping other businesses with their rapidly growing areas like the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, cybersecurity, and so on.

DirecTV (DTV) is a national growth opportunity, rather than just an opportunity within their region. AT&T Mobility and DirecTV let the company grow on a nationwide basis. It expands DirecTV to the smartphone and tablet over the wireless network giving users the ability to watch anytime and anyplace. Plus their recent acquisition of the Mexican wireless carrier is giving them more new pathways for growth going forward.

Strong Executive Vision

At the analyst meeting, there were many key senior executives like CEO Randall Stephenson, discussing the pace of change. He said the industry reinvented itself over the last eight years, and will continue to do so, but at a quicker pace.

He said AT&T will continue to grow on the consumer side and on the business side, and continue to help us connect to everything thatís important to us. Thus, industry opportunities seem to be greater than ever.

Many other AT&T executives, like Ralph de la Vega and Glenn Lurie gave presentations that helped us to wrap our minds around the enormity of the opportunities in the marketplace today, and elucidate how AT&T plans to tap into every sector. Jennifer Van Buskirk who runs their new and rapidly growing pre-paid Cricket Media ($CKT) business shares a very exciting and new growth story.

There were presentations on the network, on cybersecurity, advertising and marketing, and much more. With all this, it is clear that when you take a look at everything that AT&T is doing, they are not only redefining and expanding who they are, but they are redefinining entire industry sectors that they participate in.

Yesterday, a phone company was just a phone company. Then the starting gun was fired, they started expanding into other sectors, and the race was on. AT&T has proven they are a leader in this way of thinking and growing. AT&T is an early adopter and along with a few other companies directs the change that is occurring in wireless, telephone, television, Internet and a variety of other business sectors.

Helping Other Companies Transform

Just as they are transforming themselves and moving into new growth areas, AT&T is also a major player in helping other companies and other industries transform themselves toward the new world so they can continue to grow.

Companies in industries like automotive, healthcare, retail, computing, sales and many others. They are all transforming toward wireless with apps, tools and excitement, which letís certain companies lead the way in their own industry segments.

In fact, there were senior executives of several major companies at the analyst meeting, telling their story and praising AT&T. AT&T is not the only leader, but they are one of a very few key leaders and change agents in this ongoing transformation.

Will This Continue?

Leaders must not only create the next growth wave, but they must actually continue to grow it. Eventually, each wave grows, crests then falls, and as each wave dissipates, other waves must be created for growth to continue.

As an example, think of Apple. They also understand this wave growth theory. Their growth waves rise, crest and fall - waves like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and more. Some of these have gone up and gone down, while others are still on the growth side of the curve.

Companies that create the next growth waves, time and time again are the long-term winners. Wave after wave of growth opportunities is what winners are all about. They understand how the game is played.

Conclusion

After attending this years AT&T analyst meeting, I am convinced they remain a long-term, growth oriented company. They create many growth waves. They continue to add to their growth with recent acquisitions of companies like DirecTV and Mexico wireless.

This expands who AT&T is going forward. As they continue to grow and change, we think of them less as a phone company and more as a more general communications technology company helping consumers and business customers.

As they continue to expand and change, they will face new competitors and a changing marketplace. As an example consider how the cable television industry is now a new and direct competitor to AT&T. This will continue.

AT&T has grown and changed so much and that growth and change are still occurring. If AT&T can stay on these growth waves, and successfully negotiate the spectrum crunch that every competitor faces, just imagine what the company, and the industry, will look like in another five or ten years.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          October 5, 2015 11:31AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-thoughts-on-att-analyst-summit#sthash.X79fjlch.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20151005/opinion/sprint-cost-cutting-kagan-weighs-in

Kagan: Why Sprint is cutting costs

By Jeff Kagan  on October 5, 2015   Business, Carriers, Opinion, Workforce

Why has there been so much written about Sprint cutting costs in the last few days? This is not a surprise. This is exactly what they should be doing. This is exactly what every company is supposed to do. Sprint is supposed to focus on increasing revenues and decreasing costs. They are supposed to do this on an ongoing basis. So why make such a big deal about an expected and normal event?

Remember, Sprint is under new management. That means for a while the changes will be more dramatic. This typically happens after a change in leadership at any company. And it happens on both the growth side and the cost cutting side.

So if Sprint is just acting normally, why are some in the media writing about this cost cutting like it is a problem? This is not a problem. This is exactly what Sprint should be doing.

Sprint did have problems several years ago. Back then they were losing market share and revenue. Back then they had to cut jobs, retail locations and employees in order to stay afloat. Back then they did what they had to do. Back then, the moves were a sign of a company having serious problems.

Thatís not the case today. Today Sprint is in the middle of a reinvention of the company. That means today they must focus on both sides of the coin, increasing revenues and decreasing costs. They have been increasing revenues and market share. Now they must also cut costs, like every company must do. And thatís what they are now starting to do now.

Sprint cost cutting is good news

Thatís why this move from Sprint is good news and expected. Over the last year or so, we have seen Sprint start making real gains. While they had been losing for years, they have now begun to successfully turn things around by increasing market share and revenues.

Now it also looks like Sprint is starting to focus on cutting costs. Right sizing, which is what every company should always do on an ongoing basis.

While this move is not a guarantee that Sprint will flourish going forward, it is exactly the right thing for them to do at this point. This is a case of one step at a time.

Transformation of Wireless Industry

This is not just a matter of recovery, but itís also a matter of reinvention. Sprint is transforming into a company, which will be different going forward, just as the wireless industry is changing and will be different going forward.

In fact this is happening at every wireless carrier. Carriers in the wireless space are all looking ahead and seeing things look different. We will see lots of new opportunities and changes going forward from all the players. We have seen so much change over the last few years already and that pace of change is only accelerating.

So the good news is as Sprint continues to grow and reshape the business, this is also something they will continue to do on an ongoing basis. Remember, continual rightsizing us just a regular part of doing business.

With all that said, Sprint is doing exactly what they should be doing. Itís normal. Itís what companies do on a regular, ongoing basis. Itís simply the second part of a two-part plan to grow the company and manage costs.

The company still has a way to go so we will keep our eyes on them. However so far I see them being on the right track.

Carriers Sprint Workforce

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Warning-Think-Twice-Before-Updating-to-iOS-9-82552.html

ANALYST CORNER

Warning: Think Twice Before Updating to iOS 9

While Apple will continue to wow users, the dark side of the Apple coin is that sometimes you are on your own. Don't just assume you can safely update to the new iOS 9 without a problem. Don't just assume your data is safe on the iCloud. You can't count on that. Back up your data to the iCloud, but back it up in other ways as well. Sync your iPhone to your computer. Sync it to a backup drive.

By Jeff Kagan

Oct 1, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Apple, you insensitive scoundrel, you made my bride cry. It wasn't tears of joy over your great technology, either. It was because you caused the loss of countless personal photos and memories, and all sorts of other personal information that we can never get back again.

It's all because you simply didn't warn users not to upgrade to iOS 9 until the bugs were worked out. By the way, your iCloud didn't work for us, either.

Countless other Apple users have suffered losses like ours. To make matters worse, during the middle of our technology meltdown, Apple had the nerve to issue a press release touting how many users already had upgraded. The problem is, Apple didn't tell how many successfully upgraded versus how many had problems.

That is what users really care about. Anything else is just PR gobbledygook. Making it seem like everything is going great when it's not is telling a sneaky half-truth. This is not the first time Apple has downplayed problems that caused people heartache. There have been many over the years.

Don't get me wrong -- I love Apple. My whole family loves Apple. I carry a variety of devices, including an iPhone, an Android and others. However, everyone else in my family carries sticks to their iPhones and iPads.

Apple does a great job with its technology. However, that does not mean the company does a great job all the time. For example, every time it launches a new operating system, it typically stinks to high heaven until all the bugs are finally worked out. That takes weeks -- even months.

Never Upgrade Early

That's why I typically wait months to update iOS. I want to give Apple a chance to work out all the bugs. This time, however, I forgot to be cautious.

When the new iOS 9 was released a couple of weeks ago, I upgraded my iPhone 6. After hitting the start button, I remembered that I never update so soon. I looked for a stop button, but no such luck.

That's suggestion No. 1, Apple. Give us a way to stop the process before it's too late to change our mind. The upgrade proceeded. Fortunately, the upgrade worked. Phew.

My kids upgraded their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s -- all without problems. So I thought Apple finally got it right this time, right out of the gate.

So I happily talked with my wife about upgrading her device. She didn't want to. She didn't need to. She was happy with it the way it was. After a great sales pitch, I finally got her to agree.

So I upgraded my wife's iPhone 5s and her iPad. That's when lightning struck and completely shut down her two devices. They were dead as doornails. Useless. Unusable.

How do you think that made her feel? She was upset, but I told her not to worry. I would fix everything.

I drove all the way to the Apple Store and spent the entire morning there, while employees tried several times to forcibly reinstall iOS 9 until it finally worked. However, even though the two devices worked, they were as blank as when they were brand new.

I asked where my wife's settings, apps, photos and data were, and the Apple staff told me they had made a temporary fix. When Apple comes out with an update to the update, I should get all the data back. What happened was an inconvenience, but we wouldn't lose anything permanently.

Well that update came out last week, so everything should have been fixed, right? Wrong. There were no photos, apps or data restored. All the photos my wife loved to look at and all the apps she used and all the messages she sent and received were gone. Poof.

All Is Lost Forever

I logged on to her iCloud account and found it blank as well. What does that mean? That means everything is lost forever. That's when the tears began. My wife cried as she thought about all the memories she was storing having been lost forever.

To make matters worse, she only had me to blame for convincing her to update her iOS. So now I look like a real idiot to my darling wife.

Thank you very much Apple!

What Did Apple Do Wrong?

Apple did plenty wrong. First, it allowed my wife's iPhone and iPad to download and install iOS 9, which corrupted everything. It should have warned us to make sure we backed everything up in several different ways to protect our information.

I'm sure if we waited a few months for all the bugs to be fixed, there would have been no problem and my wife would still have all her memories.

Why Did the iCloud Fail?

What about the iCloud? Why didn't that back up all her data and photos? After all, she did set it up to back up everything. In fact, our kids -- all of whom are Apple experts -- made sure her iCloud account was backing up.

However, she was living under a false sense of security since it didn't work. Somehow, everything was lost.

Perhaps the iCloud has too many switches on the control panel. Perhaps we have to better understand what each switch actually does in order to be sure we have it set up correctly.

Whatever the problems, Apple should know better. Apple should have created a simple and easy on and off switch. Anything less is unfair to users who are not technology experts -- and most users are not experts.

Apple's Dark Side

While Apple will continue to grow and continue to wow users, the dark side of the Apple coin is that sometimes you are on your own. Don't just assume you can safely update to the new iOS 9 without a problem.

Don't just assume your data is safe on the iCloud. You can't count on that. Back up your data to the iCloud, but back it up in other ways as well. Sync your iPhone to your computer. Sync it to a backup drive.

As a business person, I obsess about backing up my data. I back up data in a variety of different ways. Perhaps I'm being overprotective, but that's better that than losing anything, right? That hit home after my wife's experience.

Never assume your data is safely backed up. Remember, when you assume, you make an ass of you and me. Right, Apple? 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-t-mobile-cable-tv-merger

Jeff Kagan: Sprint, T-Mobile, Cable TV Merger?

By Jeff Kagan  

September 28, 2015 12:26PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ S TMUS CHTR CTL CMCSA TWC NFLX AMZN

Yesterday, there were separate sectors in telecom. No doubt you remember local phone companies, long distance, wireless, cable television, Internet and more. Over time, these separate sectors started to merge. Today, large competitors like AT&T ($T) and Verizon ($VZ) offer all these services. Thatís why I think both Sprint ($S) and T-Mobile ($TMUS) may join this wave and merge wireless with cable TV as well.

The Marketplace is Changing

The marketplace continues to change. In recent years, we have seen a blending of formerly separate industry segments. Companies like AT&T and Verizon have blended all these areas and grown to be powerhouses in the marketplace. Others, like Sprint, T-Mobile, Centurylink ($CTL), Comcast ($CMCSA), Time Warner Cable ($TWC), Charter Communications ($CHTR), Cox and Altice ($ATC:EN) have stayed separate for now.

I have said in the past the industry is splitting into two different segments. One is the combined companies, and the other separate companies. Naturally, the combined companies can win more market share and thus grow larger.

Expect More M&A Activity Between Wireless and Cable TV

I believe we will see more activity in this arena. The only question is: Will this be M&A or simply a wireless carrier working with many cable television companies? Thatís an opportunity for any national wireless carrier, and perhaps more than one.

AT&T and Verizon are already there with their wireless, wire line, IPTV like Uverse and FiOS, Internet and more. In fact, AT&T DirecTV just entered the scene as another powerful competitor.

Sprint and T-Mobile are third and fourth in the wireless arena, and I would not be surprised to see them take one of two paths. Either merge with a cable television company or even with Dish Network to get their hands on more spectrum and provide satellite television. Or simply structure their company to be a service provider to the entire cable television space to work with many cable TV companies.

The Future

So the question going forward is: Will they merge, or simply do business with cable TV? Weíll have to wait and see. Both Sprint and T-Mobile can remain separate and grow, but I believe both would like to merge with a television provider to accelerate their growth curve.

Competitive Advantage

As we move forward, the companies that do offer this combined service have a competitive differentiator. They let customers blend these services and for example let them watch television on their smartphones over the wireless networks. This is new and exciting, and raises the bar.

However, over the next few years, this competitive differentiator will change and become just a simple cost of doing business as customers get used to this and start demanding it from all the companies they do business with.

Cable TV Under Pressure

Remember, the cable television industry is now under enormous competitive pressure going forward. It must move forward and grow, or it will continue to lose market share to new competitors like AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Netflix ($NFLX), Amazon.com ($AMZN), Hulu and many others. Plus, new competitors are jumping into this space all the time.

Thatís why I see the trend of combining wireless and cable television increasing in strength. More traditional cable television companies are becoming more interested in merging with wireless carriers.

That could mean more mergers between wireless and cable TV, or it could mean more wireless carriers simply working with the larger cable TV industry to deliver their television signal wirelessly, similar to what Comcast and Time Warner Cable do today over the Verizon Wireless network.

Either way, blending wireless and cable television should be a big focus moving forward. Keep your eyes on it. Thatís where future growth lies for investors, customers and workers.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          September 28, 2015 12:26PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-t-mobile-cable-tv-merger#sthash.pPM8VkHv.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150928/opinion/blackberry-priv-android-kagan-tag25

Kagan: Thoughts on BlackBerry Android-based Priv

By Jeff Kagan  on September 28, 2015   Devices, Opinion

BlackBerry is introducing its new Android device, the Blackberry Priv, which sounds like a wireless device that focuses on privacy and security. While that has always been the strength of BlackBerry and something that set it apart from the competition, it was not enough over the last several years as BlackBerry wallowed in the mud. But perhaps it has a future with the Priv and Android.

The BlackBerry Priv will have the familiar QWERTY, slide-out keyboard. It also will provide security to many users who are concerned about such things, which makes it sound like the Priv will focus on business and government users.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the Priv will be the solution for smartphone users who are learning daily of the lack of privacy they have on their current devices. If you have been reading my columns for any length of time, you will recognize this as the advice I have been offering BlackBerry for years. Quite a bit of time has passed, however, and the marketplace is different.

Will BlackBerry Android be successful?

Will this new direction be successful? Thatís the big question. Quite a lot of water has already gone under the bridge over many years. BlackBerry was a strong brand, but is now old and tired. Can they reinvigorate the brand and become relevant again? Thatís the question and the challenge.

It is possible. Others have done so. As an example, consider the AT&T of a decade ago. The company was a dying long-distance giant before it was acquired by SBC, which also acquired BellSouth and Cingular. SBC reinvigorated and refreshed the AT&T brand.

Today AT&T is one of the best-run and fastest-growing competitors in its space, and it is expanding into other industry segments including wireless with AT&T Mobility, wireline, IPTV with U-verse, DirecTV, Internet and more.

There also are plenty of companies that have struggled and have not recovered. Companies like Nokia, which was sold to Microsoft a few years ago. In fact both BlackBerry and Nokia were at one time the leaders on the handset side of the wireless business.

They were at the top of their game until Apple iPhone and Google Android transformed the space virtually overnight sending both BlackBerry and Nokia into the toilet.

Blackberry Priv has a chance

I believe BlackBerry has a chance to reinvigorate itself with its new Android line, especially in a world where data theft occurs all over the place. A more secure system would be extremely important to a certain slice of the customer pie Ė mainly the business and government sectors would generally be good candidates for privacy.

The device will have to be really sharp. That means it will have to look good and work easily and quickly. It will have to be thin and light. It will have to offer lots of apps, which business and government users want.

If BlackBerry can create a desirable device, it will also have to reinvigorate and ďyouth-anizeĒ its brand name. The company will have to strengthen its relationships with the media and analyst communities. It will need to win us over and get us on its side so our commentary and stories will be supportive of its new direction.

There is so much the company has to change and get right. At this point, missing just one item is enough to keep BlackBerry from reigniting growth. However, if it does it all right, it may indeed become important once again in a slice of the industry pie.

Either way, I hope other handset makers listen to the importance of added smartphone security. After all, as we all use these devices to manage more of our lives, it is important to protect the user, whether thatís business, government or ordinary consumers.

Android BlackBerry Devices priv

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/politics/jeff-kagan-giving-a-speech-like-the-pope

Jeff Kagan: Giving a Speech Like the Pope

By Jeff Kagan 

September 24, 2015 1:03PM   

As an industry analyst, Iíve been speaking at large and small meetings for many years. I talk about where weíve come from, where we are today and where we are heading tomorrow as an industry. I always watch, listen and learn from the best speakers around. This morning I watched the Pope speak to the US Congress and melted as I listened. While I had a hard time understanding certain words in the speech, I was still riveted. Why?

Whether you are speaking to your Board of Directors, shareholders, employees or customers, there are certain keys, which can make you remarks successful. Understanding this will help make you successful.

The Pope may not be the best speaker, but his message is listened to by the masses. He captures everyoneís attention, and I would say the presentation was absolutely amazing. Everyone listened closely and absorbed every word like it was air or water.

So, as we try and learn from the best, what can we learn from the Pope on the subject of speaking? As I watched, I think so much of this success is the fact the tables are turned when we listen to the Pope. Let me explain...

What We Can Learn from the Pope

Generally speaking, when we listen to a speech on industry, politics or self-improvement, we consider ourselves on the same level as the speaker. We are listening because they are just like us. We are listening because they have learned something they want to share.

Next, industry leaders tend to be put on a higher level because of their success and their views. However, even industry leaders are ordinary people, just like you and me. I have learned this because I have shared plenty of time backstage with other industry leaders as we prepare to give our prepared remarks. We are all human.

However, the Pope comes at this from a different direction.

We donít consider the Pope to be our equal. We consider the Pope to be on a completely different level. Human of course, but with a deeper understanding of life, religion and God. This means the average audience considers the Pope to be a great source of divine inspiration to the rest of the world.

Think of it this way: When we were children, we thought our teachers, doctors, and in fact anyone older than us knew it all. We held them in high esteem. Then, as we grew up, these just became regular people to us. They may know more about one thing or another, but they were just like us.

The Pope, however, remains at that highest spiritual level, and that is where we are captivated.

When the Pope gives a speech, he helps us understand life. He helps us understand the rules of living a good life and of helping others. However, that mindset seems to conflict with so many of us in our everyday lives.

We may believe in our personal life and our spiritual life, but we must conform in our work life or our social life - if for no other reason than we just donít want to rock the boat.

Something Changes Inside

However, when we get to see the Pope - live and in person, or even in our homes like we did this morning - something changes inside. We suddenly seem closer to understanding some of lifeís more complex questions.

This is a warm and special time. This is a frame of mind we all wish we could keep forever. Unfortunately, it typically passes. The Pope goes home and life goes back to normal with us. We get involved with political spats and competitive battles in business, family and life itself.

How can we keep some of the goodwill the Pope brings today to our shores, even after he goes home? Thatís the question we should be asking. Thatís the question we each have to answer on our own.

As My Speaking Calendar Fills

My speaking calendar fills each spring and fall, and this year is no exception. So, as I give speeches at industry and company meetings, large and small, I try to integrate some of the best techniques I learn from others. And I have learned plenty from the Pope today.

However, the challenge is, how can I incorporate anything I have learned into a simple 30-minute keynote? Is it even possible? Thatís the challenge. It may be difficult, but after watching the Pope capture the imagination of a nation today, it is something I would love to tap into. I was blessed just to be able to watch and experience his remarks earlier today.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          September 24, 2015 1:03PM   

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/politics/jeff-kagan-giving-a-speech-like-the-pope#sthash.9V5svBK5.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/When-Will-Siri-Cortana-and-Google-Now-Get-Smart-82529.html

ANALYST CORNER

When Will Siri, Cortana and Google Now Get Smart?

By Jeff Kagan

Sep 24, 2015 5:00 AM PT

The idea of intelligent personal assistants or voice assistants like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google Now seems very cool -- talking to a computer and having it talk back. It should be like talking to the computer on Star Trek's starship Enterprise. If the technology worked well, these digital assistants could be game-changing. Unfortunately, it doesn't -- not yet, anyway.

In the wonderful world of technology, we often get way ahead of ourselves. It's the idea that propels us, even if the reality takes years to catch up. It's like a birthday cake made entirely of frosting.

That's the state of today's intelligent personal assistants. They're not too intelligent. It's enjoyable to play around with them, even if we get a useful answer only once out of every five or 10 tries. It's like spinning the wheel in Las Vegas. We give it another try and hope for the best.

Siri receives 1 billion requests every week, according to Apple. That's incredible. However, all that says is that we want Siri to work. It doesn't sa how many of those attempts are wrong and frustrating. Now that would be an interesting number.

As limited as intelligent personal assistants are today, they will get better, stronger and faster over time. Will they ever get to be as good as what we see on TV? Who knows? Still, they will be better than they are today.

Worries About Tomorrow

As the technology improves, we may have different concerns. What if our digital assistants get too smart and control too much of our lives?

That could happen when the voice at the front end of a computer system starts articulating what the back end actually is thinking.

Machines don't have a conscience. That's why we may begin to fear technology. Today's assistants seem like friendly, bumbling idiots stumbling around trying to help us out. That could change.

Better, Stronger, Faster

This is a brand new space, and anything brand new will experience a lot of hiccups. Siri was released on the iPhone in 2011. Google Now was released in 2012. Cortana was introduced in 2014. These intelligent personal assistants are still in their infancy.

Think of this like the Model T car from Ford. Today we look at the Model T as the beginning of an automotive revolution that changed our lives. However, back when it was first introduced, it wasn't a smooth ride.

Too Many Assistants

We can see how Siri, Cortana and Now will continue to grow and get more accurate -- and we can count on more intelligent personal assistants entering this space. There are newcomers like Amazon's Alexa, which launched on the Echo speaker in 2014. More will continue to appear.

The automotive industry is another area where this technology is exploding. Some automakers use their own systems while others let you use your smartphone. The problem with this is that if you are an Apple Siri user, it may take some time before you understand the Hyundai system, which uses Google Android Auto. Will you even be able to drive a Hyundai with Android if you currently use an Apple iPhone?

What will our world look like -- and sound like -- in another five or 10 years? We'll likely go through a period of too many voice assistants, and each will have it's own set of issues and rules.

Some will be more advanced than others. Some will be more accurate than others. As they improve, they will control more of our society and our personal lives.

A Generational Thing

The user's age will play a role in how this technology is experienced. Baby boomers recall the days before voice assistants, tablets, smartphones -- even computers. Those were the days of plain old telephone service, or POTS.

When wireless phones made their entry, they dramatically changed communications. It must have been the way it was when the first Model Ts hit the streets.

Younger people were born into a high-tech world. They never had to be tethered to the kitchen phone. As technology continues to advance, they'll roll with it.

They won't remember not being able to watch television on their smarpthone or tablet from anywhere they might be. This new world will be the same old world for them.

Goodbye Typing?

As voice assistants become more accurate, we will use the keyboard less and less. Everything will move toward speech. That shift will impact users of today's keyboards the most. as they will have to embrace a new way of thinking about technology and about communicating their thoughts.

There is always a struggle between the old and new. Kids born now may not even use a keyboard. They will become used to intelligent and accurate voice assistants -- much more advanced versions of the Siri, Cortana and Now tools that we struggle with today.

Times Change

Those who have been around for a while may struggle to integrate old and new technologies. Those who were born into the smartphone world will see tech completely differently.

However, the next generation will regard keyboards and other commonplace tech the way we look at the Model T. How quaint. Are you ready? I'm not sure I am -- but what choice do we have?

Just remember, all this cool new technology that lets us talk to our computers is still more hope for the future than reality today. It may seem cool, but that's the problem -- so far, it just seems that way. 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150922/opinion/apple-upgrade-to-ios9-risky-kagan

Kagan: Upgrade to Apple iOS9 or wait?

By Jeff Kagan  on September 22, 2015   Devices, Opinion, Software

Last week when iOS9 came out I upgraded my Apple iPhone 6. It worked. In fact, things went so well that this morning I upgraded an iPhone 5S and an iPad. Big mistake. Thatís when I was hit by an Apple tidal wave so big it would make the Titanic feel like it was just caught in a sun shower. So should you update now or wait a while for the bugs to be worked out? Thatís the $1 million question. Let me share with you what I learned after spending hours at the Apple store this morning.

I have lost all my data and apps on my devices. Thatís a tragedy, but Apple says itís not lost. Itís just unreadable. They tell me when a fix is created I will get them back. Thatís better than losing all that information. However, the next question is how long will that take?

Donít update to iOS9 from iOS7 or older

Bottom line, if you are currently using iOS8, then chances are better you will have a successful update to iOS9. However, if you currently use iOS7 or older, donít even think about updating. Not until Apple creates and releases a fix for the massive problems this creates.

It would be nice if Apple would have warned us about this, donít you think?! I updated an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 5S, which both used iOS8. They both upgraded without problem. The problem came when updating an iPhone 5S and iPad using iOS7. When I did this, suddenly the phone didnít talk to my cloud any longer.

What that means is the iPhone and iPad became a brick. After bringing it to an Apple store they got it working again, but it was a blank device. I still have to manually install everything. Even then I wonít have any data. Basically all I had was a brand new and blank iPhone.

The rest of the story

The entire story was a lot more aggravating. It took a trip to an Apple store and spent several hours there earlier this morning. We had to forcefully update my iPhone and iPad several different times each. It seemed to work well until I tried to access my iCloud data. Thatís when it froze and I had to update all over again.

There were many other people there complaining about the same thing. There was a big problem and there was no solution. I was there long enough that I think I understand what is going on.

Problem with no solution yet

So the new update to iOS9 seemed to work well when updating from iOS8. However, if you are using iOS7 or older, donít even try. You will freeze your system and have to spend hours just getting the device to work again.

The Apple solution

According to the Apple staff, they now understand the problem and are working on a fix. When that fix comes out, it should solve the problems and you can go back to normal. Until that point, you are stuck. When will the fix come out, tomorrow, next week, next month?

So if you donít need to update your operating system, play it safe and DONíT!

If you do want to update it, make sure you are currently at least using the most updated iOS8 version. And make sure you update everything before you update. Without that you are walking into a trap.

Either way, there are certain devices, which should not be updated yet like those that use iOS7 or older that are connected to iCloud.

The culprit seems to mainly be around the iCloud. If you donít use the iCloud you may not have this problem.

Never upgrade early

I never upgrade quickly. I always wait months before upgrading. I know there will be problem and donít want to get caught in the chaos and lose my data. As a wireless analyst I get lots of smartphones and tablets to test and compare from carriers and handset makers. These are the devices I typically update quickly to experience the thrill of the high-speed wipe out. What a rush!

However the wipe out is never that bad since these are only test devices and not my primary phones and tablets and such.

Never update when travelling

Last week I heard the iOS9 was ready to go so, without thinking, I updated my primary smartphone. Unfortunately, I realized too late that I never update one of my primary devices for this very reason.

Fortunately it worked. I say fortunately because I was travelling last week and would have been very angry if all of a sudden I couldnít make a phone call, send a message or us an app.

I realized this was a mistake and highly risky after pressing the OK button. At that point there was no way to stop the update. Fortunately I dodged a bullet with that one. However the other devices I updated this morning were a year older.

Apple should release updates on staggered basis

If Apple knew this and failed to warn users then they should be ashamed of themselves. Job number one should be to protect the user. After all, they are the reason for your success. Apple always talks about how many of us update the iOS. That always sounds impressive. What they donít tell us is whether it works.

So if you didnít update yet, stop. If you did and you dodged a bullet, congrats. If you did and you are now suffering, sorry. All you can do is wait for the Apple fix.

So while that does not help anyone until the fix comes, at least we didnít lose everything. At least we hope not. This is a helluva position for any of us to be in however isnít it. We have to remember a chain is only as strong as itís weakest link.

Letís hope Apple gets the fix out ASAP.

Apple Apple iOS 9 operating system Software

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Microsoft-Shoots-Itself-in-the-Foot-82502.html

ANALYST CORNER

Microsoft Shoots Itself in the Foot

By Jeff Kagan

Sep 17, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Shame on you Microsoft! Last week you admitted to downloading gigabits of Windows 10 data to users' hard drives without permission. The problem is, that move both took up our hard drive space and triggered Internet Service Provider fees. You did it without even asking our permission. Hey, Microsoft, who the hell do you think you are?

The simple solution is this: Ask permission. Users who want the data will be happy to get it and pay for it. Those who are not interested should be respected as well. Showing them respect will save them space and money.

Why can't Microsoft understand that simple solution? It would be helpful to their users and therefore helpful to Microsoft as well. Will the company listen? I doubt it.

The current method simply goes too far. Typical Microsoft. I believe the lack of care and respect shown to customers is going to be very costly. Today customers have choice. Today Apple is a growing force in the OS business. So is Google Chrome. There are others as the OS space changes.

If Microsoft continues to show disrespect to users, it will lose market share.

Microsoft Threatens Microsoft

This behavior is a real threat to Microsoft. In today's world, a company must protect and strengthen customer relationships. So why in the world would Microsoft shoot itself in the foot by hurting its customers this way?

Then again, this has been Microsoft's way of doing business for a long time. It never cared about the customer -- it never had to. There was no competition. All the company ever focused on was growth. It was always Microsoft's way or the highway.

However, things are changing. Now market share is at risk. Customers have choices, and those choices are increasing. That should cause Microsoft to rethink its unattractive and domineering behavior.

Many people have been Microsoft users for decades -- not because they love the company, but because it offered a good product. Now, that may not be enough to keep users as customers.

Microsoft Takes Your Disk Space and Money

Just think about what Microsoft is doing right now. Whether you choose to accept Windows 10 data or not, Microsoft sends it to you. That means it wastes gigabits of your hard drive space.

In addition, sending gigabits costs you money with your ISP. Plus, Microsoft is sending it without asking your permission. Who pays for that? You do, in your ISP bill every month.

I have been getting messages from Comcast saying my Internet usage is suddenly up and they are charging me extra. I couldn't figure it out. Now I realize it may be Microsoft's fault.

Simple Solution: Ask Permission

Shouldn't Microsoft ask your permission before doing this? It sure should. That way, those who want it would get it and those who don't, wouldn't.

So the big question persists, why does Microsoft continue this abusive behavior? I think it may do this because this is the way the company always has behaved.

Well, the time for taking it is over. That time has passed. It's time to raise some hell! 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-will-cable-tv-die

Jeff Kagan: Will Cable TV Die?

By Jeff Kagan  

September 15, 2015 12:04PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ CTL CMCSA TWX AAPL CHTR NFLX AMZN GOOG BBRY NOK

A funny thing seems to be happening in the Pay TV space. We always thought it would be Apple TV that would transform cable television, but instead, over the last few years we have seen AT&T ($T) Uverse and Verizon ($VZ) FiOS take that honor. Even CenturyLink ($CTL) Prism is joining the party. Now AT&T DirecTV, Verizon Go90 and Apple ($AAPL) TV are punching with more blows to the weakened cable TV industry. Will this be the final blow to companies like Comcast ($CMCSA), Time Warner ($TWX) Cable, Charter ($CHTR) and Cox?

It all depends on how traditional cable television reacts to these new industry threats and challenges. New competitors and new technologies are transforming the traditional television space. Cable TV does not have a good quality relationship with their customers. They never had to build one, so they never learned how to do so.

Cable TV was always the only game in town. So, since the customers didnít have a choice and could not leave, cable TV never cared about taking care of, and building relationships with customers. However, all of the sudden, the customer does have choice, and they are leaving the traditional cable TV industry. Cable TV has been losing customers over the last few years. Suddenly, the industry is struggling to create quality relationships with their customers.

Competitive Threats to Cable TV Growing

Threats to traditional cable television are emerging in recent years. These threats are lead by telephone companies offering IPTV. Now that AT&T and DirecTV have merged, and Verizon is launching their go90 through their FiOS unit, the threat and challenge to traditional cable TV is increasing.

Now Apple TV, if successful, could turn the heat up even more, and further transform the space. Plus, I see more competition coming all the time. There are plenty of competitors like Dish, Google ($GOOG) and others who can also make an impact. Added to Netflix ($NFLX), Amazon.com ($AMZN), Hulu and others, the television space is definitely in a major transformation.

New TV Technology is Also Changing Everything

The way television is delivered and watched is also changing. No longer do we have to sit at home at a certain hour to watch our favorite shows. Television is going wireless. That means we can watch it on our smartphones or tablets, over the wireless network, anytime and any place...and this changes everything.

Bottom line, cable television is in the sights of many new competitors and new technologies, and  cable is feeling the heat. So what is the future for cable TV? Thatís the sticky question.

Prediction for Cable TV

I predict some cable television providers will transform and start to grow again. They will remain strong competitors in the industry. However, some will try and fail, or not try at all. These are the losers. These companies will fade. They will likely be acquired by competitors over the next decade.

There are no guarantees, and cable television companies will no longer own this space. There will be wins and losses. The only question is...to what extent. Remember how new competition and new competitors transformed other industries?

Remember how past leaders like Nokia ($NOK) and Blackberry ($BBRY) gave way to new leaders like Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy? It happens...and it happens quickly.

One thing is for sure: Cable TV is no longer bulletproof. Changes are afoot, and making the right choice as a customer, worker and investor is key.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          September 15, 2015 12:04PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-will-cable-tv-die#sthash.aJIlGFkK.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150915/opinion/wireless-industry-changing-kagan

Kagan: The changing wireless industry

By Jeff Kagan  on September 15, 2015   Carriers, Opinion

The CTIA Super Mobility conference last week shows the wireless industry as an incredible growth engine. While this is true, not every company will win going forward. The latest carrier to fail is Syringa Wireless, which offers service to rural areas in Idaho. Companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile are winners, but what about smaller carriers like US Cellular, C-Spire Wireless and others?

Last week CTIA showcased so much of what the wireless world is transforming into. It is very exciting. However I donít believe every wireless carrier, handset maker, consumer or business service provider will be successful in this new and growing space.

Growing, cresting or falling on the growth curve

The wireless industry seems to be splitting into groups. One group is larger carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. They are rapidly growing and transforming themselves and other industries. They have roughly 70% market share and blend their wireless and wire line to deliver video and audio in new ways over their data networks.

Sprint also has a very strong spectrum position, however they are wireless only so are in a different category. Sprint is changing and will be a player in the wireless end of this race.

T-Mobile is growing, but they have a weak spectrum position, so while things look great today, I donít see them continuing to grow at this pace unless things change.

Smaller carriers like U.S. Cellular and C Spire may face challenges with limited spectrum going forward. New providers like Google Project Fi want to challenge the existing wireless model. There are, in fact, many who would like to change wireless, however most are not successful. Just consider Amazonís Fire Phone and the Facebook phone.

Handset makers have gone through a major transformation over the last few years. Leaders used to be Nokia and Blackberry. Today they are Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy. There are also plenty of other devices.

App makers for both consumers and business customers are finding this marketplace to be perfect, but highly competitive.

I see things differently

At the show last week, we heard so many heavy hitters from wireless and other industries talking about new growth areas. Everything from expanding the traditional way we watch television to helping other industries transform themselves.

Some say traditional industries like cable television will continue and we will simply add new technologies to the mix. While I see some truth in this, I also see things differently. One on hand cable television may not go away for a long time because of the traditional customer base, which is shrinking. However I see a complete reinvention of many industries including cable TV. And that change is underway today. Some cable TV companies will change and continue to grow. Some wonít.

This is not new. We have seen this several times in several industries over several decades. Remember how iTunes transformed the music space causing traditional music providers to struggle. Or how Amazon transformed the book business putting retail book giants out of business. Then they started recreating the book business with the Kindle digital books you can download from anywhere. Or how the iPhone and Android transformed wireless, causing past leaders like Nokia and Blackberry to struggle virtually overnight.

Wireless is ground zero for this transformation

Either way, the wireless industry is ground zero for so much change and growth for the wireless industry itself and for other industries like music, books, movies, television, entertainment, healthcare, automotive and many more. This is the delivery method to a mobile society.

Going forward the ability to offer richer video will continue to eat up spectrum demands. This is a fact the wireless industry struggles with every day.

CTIA vs. CCA

The CTIA represents the entire wireless industry, while the CCA is more focused on small wireless carriers or more specialized wireless carriers for consumers and business customers and the companies that serve them. Both are holding their shows within a few weeks of each other.

While they are both important, and while they both focus on many of the same issues, both are very different. One focuses on the entire industry and the other focuses on smaller carriers.

As spectrum is a growing issue, the question is will smaller wireless carriers be able to continue to win going forward? Thatís the $1 million question. We see smaller carriers struggle to get their hands on spectrum in order to remain players in the wireless space. Fortunately they lease spectrum from larger carriers like Sprint, which helps them through this rough time.

Some companies will win, others will fail

Just because a company has been successful in the past, does not mean they are guaranteed to be successful going forward. Many carriers donít have as much wiggle room as they need. That means when things start getting rough, things can turn sour pretty quickly. Just consider Syringa Wireless.

Spectrum is one big trouble spot. Carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have plenty of spectrum for their needs today. However all other carriers have very little or no spectrum and may be on a dangerous and slippery slope.

Success in wireless going forward requires incredible and continual investments, faster speeds, better quality and reliability, reach and spectrum. It is getting trickier and more expensive to remain strong in the wireless industry as a competitor with available spectrum as a key element.

That means over the next several years more small carriers may start to struggle. More competitors may disappear. We may have fewer small, regional wireless carriers. That means we will have to choose one of the larger, national wireless carriers as our provider.

We must make sure larger carriers have access to spectrum since they have the vast majority of market share. However we also should make sure smaller carriers at least have access to spectrum as well so they can continue to compete. This is one of the difficult problems we wrestle with today as an industry.

The choice the average consumer or business customer always has is reach, reliability, speed and innovation of larger carriers vs. price of smaller carriers. Fortunately there are plenty of customers in both arenas.

Which wireless carriers and companies will win going forward?

I fully expect the wireless industry to continue itís rapid and healthy growth curve. New technologies and new competitors will continue to infuse lots of energy into this industry, and other industries, which will use wireless as their new launching pad. But even with all this excitement, there will always be companies that fail.

So stay aware of the different sectors and the companies in each sector, which are growing, cresting or falling. Companies on the consumer side and the business side. Each company is on itís own place in the growth curve. Some are growing and others are not. If you choose well, whether you are a customer, worker or investor, you can stay in the right growth curve.

Sprint Syringa Wireless T-Mobile Verizon

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/T-Mobiles-War-on-Data-Hogs-Is-Everyones-Fight-82472.html

ANALYST CORNER

T-Mobile's War on Data Hogs Is Everyone's Fight

T-Mobile needs more spectrum. Not every carrier is in the same position. Some have more than others. AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have plenty of spectrum for today. However, tomorrow is always the concern if the current level of rapid growth continues. That's the threat I have been writing about for years. This is a problem we must solve as an industry.

By Jeff Kagan

Sep 10, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Thank you to John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, for declaring war on wireless data hogs. Putting this burning issue on the front page is great. Everyone should know the problems caused by wireless data thieves. The reason is simple. Data hogs are threatening to spoil things for everyone. Yes, that means for you and your business.

Data hogs threaten T-Mobile's growth because they spoil things for regular wireless data users. However this is also a larger problem for the entire industry, and it needs to be solved before it affects other carriers as well.

When users can't connect for a wireless data session, or when their usage slows way down, they cry out -- who the heck is using up all my wireless data? We think this is new. We think we never had to worry about this before. Well, actually we did. We just didn't know about it. So thanks, T-Mobile, for having the courage to take this problem public and for shining a light into the dark corners of the industry so we can see these dirty little creatures.

Who Are Data the Hogs?

Are data hogs sniveling creatures that have figured out ways to bypass whatever restrictions carriers place on this kind of abuse? Actually, they could be ordinary looking people or even kids with no sense of right and wrong. If they want it, they take it -- without paying for it of course.

John Legere called them "clever hackers." They only amount to 1/100 of a percent of T-Mobile's 59 million customers, but some are using 2 terabytes of data per month. Boy the world is all screwed up, isn't it?

Some data hogs are T-Mobile customers who have figured out how to bypass restrictions. Others may not even be customers. Either way, their data thievery can have an impact on every customer, eventually resulting in poor connectivity, slower service and higher prices.

Data Hogs Threaten T-Mobile's Growth

T-Mobile has been on a great ride over the last few years. Its recovery from a near-death experience has been noteworthy. However, one important limitation it faces is insufficient wireless data spectrum. It faces challenges providing enough on-ramps to its customers nationwide.

T-Mobile didn't have enough spectrum until it got its hands on some from AT&T Mobility after a failed merger attempt a few years ago. That spectrum was the tool it needed to jump-start its recovery over the last few years.

That's why this limited spectrum problem hits T-Mobile especially hard. It needs more. That's why it needs to solve this data theft problem sooner rather than later. In fact, that's why every carrier needs to solve this same problem.

You would think an easy solution would be to simply add to the wireless spectrum it has, right? There's the rub. Wireless data spectrum is very limited, and there are quite a few companies that need it -- and they are all growing.

T-Mobile Has Little Spectrum

Of the big four wireless carriers, T-Mobile has the least amount of spectrum -- and if the bad guys are stealing it, the shortage may be felt by its customers. To make matters more challenging, it is still signing up new customers, stretching what it has thinner.

T-Mobile needs more spectrum. In fact, every wireless carrier needs more spectrum for the future -- but T-Mobile needs it now, and this war on data hogs is a sure sign something has to be done.

Not every carrier is in the same position. Some have more than others. AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have plenty of spectrum for today. However, tomorrow is always the concern if the current level of rapid growth continues.

That's the threat I have been writing about for years. This could make it difficult for all carriers to keep customers happy, just as it is impacting T-Mobile today. This is a problem we must solve as an industry.

T-Mobile Is Doing the Right Thing

T-Mobile is the first to take this kind of hit. That's why I think it is doing exactly the right thing. It is shining a light on a problem that's usually hidden in dark corners.

Although the wireless data thieves are a very small percentage of users, they suck up so much wireless data they can ruin the ride for everyone.

So I say good job to T-Mobile for raising this issue and making it public. It's an important issue the industry needs to solve. Going forward, if we all want fast service, we must get the data hogs off the networks. This is a dirty business, but somebody's got to do it. Thank you, T-Mobile, for putting this issue on the front page.   

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150907/opinion/sprint-reports-record-low-customer-loss

Kagan: Sprint reports record low customer loss

By Jeff Kagan  

September 7, 2015 

Business, Carriers, Opinion

There are good signs coming from Sprint. According to their most recent quarterly results, customer losses came in at a record low. This is a real sign that Sprint is in recovery mode. When customers are happy, they stick around. When they are not, they leave. Sprint customers are sticking around. So what can we expect next?

Transformation typically takes time. Itís very difficult to simply flip a switch and transform a company overnight. Big ships take a while to slow down, turn around, then gather speed once again. Sprint is in the middle of that process. This process could take a few years to complete. The good news is if they continue on this path, the future looks bright going forward.

Transformation on two levels: service and perception

Transformation must take place on two levels. One is the actual product or service. Two is the perception of the actual product or service in the marketplace. Both are key.

You can improve, but if the marketplace doesnít recognize it, you will not benefit. Remember the old saying, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Same thing here.

Rough decade

Sprint had a rough decade. However, they started investing billions of dollars under previous CEO Dan Hesse to improve their network and performance. Then SoftBank acquired 78% of Sprint a couple years ago and invested billions more.

One year ago, Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, brought in Marcelo Claure as new CEO. So Sprint is going through a major transformation on the inside as well as the outside. As long as it is a growing and healthy company, everyone wins. During the last year Sprint continued to pour investment dollars into the network.

After a year on the job, Claure is instilling new guiding principles for the company. Sprint is focusing more on the customer including consumers, business customers and governments. They are disrupting their traditional wireless business model. Their new ďiPhone ForeverĒ and ďDirect 2 YouĒ plans are just a couple of many examples of this new way of thinking.

They are creating a customer-centric culture. Putting the customer first. And according to their record low customer loss rate, users are noticing the improvement.

Sprint continues to improve quality, speed and reliability

However, changing wireless is just one of two important areas Sprint needs to focus on. The other is changing the perception of the company in the marketplaceís mind.

I donít know if you realize it yet, but Sprint has shown measurable improvement. The call quality, reach and speed have all strengthened. They have quite a bit of wireless data spectrum for both consumer and business customer use. The once shoddy network is actually quite good today. They are faster and more reliable than ever. And things continue to improve.

Test and compare

I carry a variety of wireless phones and devices from a variety of different carriers and I always test and compare. As I have said over the last decade, Sprint used to stink. However, over the last few quarters, I have begun to notice solid improvement.

This is one reason why customers are no longer leaving Sprint. Another reason is Sprint is introducing some very attractive offerings to the market.

Last year it started with their consumer service called ďCut Your Rate Plan in Half,Ē which was a success. Today they are advertising their newest business service idea called ďMobility-as-a-Service.Ē In fact, they have quite a few offerings, which both consumers and business customers really seem to like.

Now its time to improve perception of Sprint in marketplace

Now is the time for Sprint to focus on improving the perception of the company and services. If you recall back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sprint had a similar problem. Thatís when they developed the campaign to tell the world of their improved quality. You remember the ďPin DropĒ campaign. There were actually two campaigns over several years for the long distance network and the wireless network.

The challenge is the same today. They need to let the marketplace know about the improvement. Wireless is an industry where you can never say youíre all done. Every year wireless carriers must invest billions just to keep up with increasing customer base, increasing usage on data and voice, and higher demands from both customers and investors.

Keep reinventing and improving

While this is a continual challenge, it is also a very good thing. The reason is simple. It keeps wireless new. The problem with successful companies and products is they have a lifespan. They travel on a growth wave, which rises, crests and falls. This would have happened with wireless if it did not continue to grow and to change as it has over the last few decades.

Wireless has grown from analog to digital, then increased speeds and capabilities year after year. Today we are up to ď4GĒ and now are planning ď5G.Ē Thatís why wireless as an industry wonít crest and fall. Wireless is the center of the universe for itís own industry, and as ground zero for other industries like automotive, healthcare, retail and much more.

While itís impossible to know what the wireless world will look like going forward, the good news is it looks like we will have four, strong and growing wireless carriers in the US marketplace going forward.

We have to remember that Sprint is now a very different company with a new sense of direction under Claure and Son. They are reinventing Sprint. So far, according to Sprint customers and their very low loss rate, it looks like the company is starting to succeed.

There are many different slices in the wireless pie. Carriers win by focusing on their slice of the pie and winning there. Looked at that way, every carrier can win in a crowded marketplace if they keep the consumer and business customer first.

This looks like what Sprint is starting to focus on and to date they look like they are turning the ship around. There is still plenty of work to do, but so far it looks like they are heading in the right path.

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/consumer-discretionary/jeff-kagan-chicken-soup-for-the-soul-2-0

Jeff Kagan: Chicken Soup for the Soul 2.0

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          September 7, 2015 5:30AM   

Tickers Mentioned: NFLX CBS

The well-known brand Chicken Soup for the Soul is being reinvigorated and is about to start rocking and rolling. This is not a public company yet, but it is a brand that everyone recognizes. It is now going through an exciting rebirth and brand refresh. Going forward, this company will continue to grow and expand into new areas like movies, television, retail and more.

Chicken Soup for the Soul started in the 1990s as a series of books and stories to inspire others on a variety of personal topics. It became a very strong brand name in the US and many other countries.

William Rouhana Jr. acquired Chicken Soup for the Soul about seven years ago. At the time it was a very small company with a very strong brand name. Thatís what Rouhana was looking for...something with a strong brand name from which he could build.

Rouhana is Chairman and CEO, and his wife Amy Newmark is Publisher and Editor in Chief and author. The two of them absolutely love what they are doing. That is one very important key to their success. Plus, the ideas they have going forward are much bigger and much deeper than anything this company has ever done before.

From Beloved Book Series to Media Empire

The first few years were full of distractions, but in the last few years, Chicken Soup for the Soul has been hitting itís stride and growing. In fact, I would say if success continues along the path they envision, the company is on the verge of a transformation that will expand revenues, categories and the brand dramatically. Not only does this company continue to publish new titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand in both traditional, audio and eBook format, but they are also expanding far beyond that stage.

They have a new TV series on CBS (CBS)  called Chicken Soup for the Soul, Hidden Heroes. Every week, they will tell three stories of how people reach out and help other people in different and surprising ways, teaching us all valuable lessons.

They have a new Warner Brothers movie with Alcon Entertainment and Kerner Entertainment coming called, (what else?) Chicken Soup for the Soul, due out next year on December 16, 2016. And yes, that is the same date that the new Star Wars: Rogue One will be released.

If these ideas are successful, there are so many more movies and television shows that this brand can create. There is other media this can be used in, as well. And with technology exploding, there are even more ideas. Think about how many hundreds of books and thousands of stories are already published under this brand. Think about the countless new ideas they get on a regular basis from readers from coast-to-coast and all over the world. This is a goldmine of ideas and inspiration.

Plus, they have expanded into a variety of other segments, like wholesome foods from soups to pasta sauces, to dog and cat food in more than 27 grocery store chains in over 2,000 locations across the USA.

So, even though everyone knows about Chicken Soup for the Soul, they are about to be delighted and surprised at how quickly Chicken Soup for the Soul 2.0 may be turning into a media powerhouse. Remember, things can grow and change very quickly today. As an example, just look at Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) , a company that has changed and grown faster than anyone ever imagined. And Netflix is a company that is still in the middle of their transformation and growth.

So, Chicken Soup for the Soul is being reinvented and may be starting what could turn into an incredible growth curve. Keep your eyes on them. This quiet brand could become a rapidly growing company. I would not be surprised if they decided to go public sooner rather than later.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. 

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          September 7, 2015 5:30AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/consumer-discretionary/jeff-kagan-chicken-soup-for-the-soul-2-0#sthash.vwhvQSBS.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Playing-Whac-a-Mole-With-Windows-10-82452.html

ANALYST CORNER

Playing Whac-a-Mole With Windows 10

By Jeff Kagan

Sep 3, 2015 9:26 AM PT

Autumn is coming, and it's time for county fair fun with candy apples, fried dough and the midway. You remember the game whac-a-mole? As the moles popped up through holes on the table, it was your job to whack them before they disappeared. Now, every time another Windows 10 reminder pops up on my screen, all I want to do is grab a mallet and start whacking!

Message to Microsoft: This is my computer. Leave my desktop alone! This is not your marketing tool. What gives you the right to hijack my computer for your commercial messages? Do you want to drive me to Apple and Google?

What gives Microsoft the right to pepper billions of nice people all over the world with Windows 10 marketing messages? We paid for our own devices. They are ours. If you want to pay us every month, Microsoft -- and if we accept your offer -- then you can advertise away. Until then... STOP!

Where the heck is the OFF switch for these increasingly annoying ads? At least that would give users a chance to regain control of their own computers. Microsoft is beginning to feel like ransomware. Either switch, Microsoft, or we'll keep bugging the hell out of you.

By continuing to dump marketing messages on users, and not giving us a way to opt out, Microsoft is only hurting itself. It's like an abusive relationship, and Microsoft expects us to just keep taking it. Oh, really. So stop stalking us, Microsoft. It will create the opposite of what you really want.

I know you had a terrible time during the last decade or two with real growth. However, the best way to grow is to develop something users want -- not to keep peppering them with shots from your marketing pebble gun over and over and over again until they give in just to get you to go away.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Windows 10

During the last few months, I've had to put up with a Microsoft marketing icon in the lower right corner of my screen. When I clicked on that, it told me Windows 10 was coming and to sign up. I did -- to see what would happen next.

When Windows 10 was released, I started getting annoying pop-up messages urging me to download it now. It said I wouldn't have to install right away, but could save a copy for when I was ready. So, like a good little sheep, I did that too.

Now that my laptop has downloaded the program, Microsoft has changed its tune. It has turned into a vicious marketing machine. It annoys the hell out of me to install and upgrade. All of a sudden, this quiet marketing program has becoming a monster that I can't shut off.

Every time I open Internet Explorer, I get a Windows 10 marketing screen that I now have to click off before I can use the browser. Every day I get a blue marketing message that pops up on the lower right corner of my screen that does the same thing. I have to click it off as well. What's coming next?

Microsoft, I know you hope to get more users to install Windows 10, but what you are doing is creating animosity between you and the customer. As a marketing strategy, that's a disaster.

Does Microsoft Want to Drive Users Away?

I am thinking about not using Internet Explorer any longer and going to Google's Chrome, just to get away from the Windows 10 messages polluting my screen. I am also thinking about switching to an Apple MacBook to get away from this overly intrusive marketing machine that I just can't turn off.

Microsoft, is that really your goal? If so, then congratulations -- you are hitting the nail on the head. If not, then please realize you are making a humongous marketing mistake. You are shooting yourself in the foot.

Please, stop this madness. I've been a Microsoft customer for decades, and I may have been a Microsoft customer for decades going forward -- but I've had enough. Now you have me thinking about that commitment.

Excuse me. It's time to grab my mallet so I can whack the heck out of Microsoft! Boy, that would feel good. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-escape-from-windows-10

Jeff Kagan: Escape from Windows 10

By Jeff Kagan 

August 31, 2015 11:42AM   

Tickers Mentioned: MSFT AAPL

Some users like Windows 10. Some donít. Over the last several years, Windows 10 has been the focus of so many articles and news stories that user interest reached a fever pitch. Typical. And as always, after release, those same writers seem to only be directing their attention toward the system's bugs. Typical. Eventually, however, things will balance. Until then, it's a crapshoot whether you like Windows 10 or not.

Escape Chute Does Not Always Work

Remembering all the problems of new releases of the past causes users to pause before giving something new a try. This is why Microsoft gives customers a magical escape chute. If Windows 10 doesnít work well for you, just switch back...quickly and easily.

Thatís great, in theory. Unfortunately, this escape chute doesnít seem to work for everyone.

Unfortunately, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)  canít pull rabbits out of their hat and make a reversible software or operating system work for every user. Reading news stories, it seems many users are having trouble switching back. So like it or not, they are stuck where they are.

Users who love Windows 10 will be fine. Unfortunately, there are many users who do not like it. They are told they can simply revert back to Windows 7 or 8 at will. The problem is...many cannot.

At this point, many users are stumped. Many people I talk with are simply not courageous enough to take the leap to Windows 10. Not yet anyway. Especially when they are not sure they can quickly switch back.

Donít Trust, Backup

So whatís the answer? The solution is simple. Donít simply trustÖinstead, backup.

Thatís the only answer for every user of this new OS...period. You should always be backing up your data, anyway. You can get backup drives and plug them into your computer on a daily basis. That way, if you ever have a catastrophe, which does happen from time to time...you are protected.

Of course, you may not have any data you care to protect on your hard drive. If you are one of these more casual users, you have nothing to lose. If things go wrong, all you have to do is reinstall the Windows that came with your computer and you are back in business.

If you do store important information on your hard drive, just imagine losing all your data, pictures, letters, tax returns, passwords and so on. There is no reason to be vulnerable. You donít have to risk losing anything.

There are backup drives available from Seagate, Toshiba, ClickFree and more. All you do is plug it in every day and it does the work. In fact, you can leave them hooked up and they continually back-up.

There is also cloud storage for automatic and continual online backup from many companies. Some well-known companies are Carbonite, Mozy, Barracuda and iDrive.

Backup Your Backup

Personally, I often get carried away...I use several. That way I have a backup for my backup. After all, you never know.

If the Microsoft escape shoot works, you can simply press a button and revert. However, if you canít do that, you must have a secondary shoot. Ask any skydiver, a secondary emergency shoot is always piece of mind.

Bottom line: if you canít revert, you can always give a fresh reinstall of the old version of Windows you now use and copy your data back to your computer. It takes longer, but at least you havenít lost anything.

One last bit of advice - donít do this just before an important deadline. Expect a catastrophe, and that you will have to reinstall Windows updates, your data, and all the tweaks to make it yours again.

Youíre welcome.

Should You Switch to Windows 10?

The next big question is, should you upgrade to Windows 10? As always, thatís a personal decision you have to make. Either way, upgrading during the first wave is often frustrating. Microsoft learns what needs to be updated from their users, and things get better over the first several months. However, things can often be dicey during this time, as well.

Another important thing to remember is Windows 10 is very different from Windows 7, which most people still use. Think of it as an improved Windows 8, which was not successful, but did change the experience with a touch screen and other features.

I predict some will love this new design and others will hate it. Unfortunately, Microsoft forces all users down the same shoot. What would be great is if Microsoft would give users the choice, rather than forcing them down a path many do not want to take.

While this will likely give Microsoft the short-term kick in the butt investors have been searching for, it will be interesting to see if they lose market share from customers who donít like this dramatic new path.

This is a decision that you, and only you, will have to make going forward. If you want to take this new trip...go for it. However, if you like things the way they always were, you may be out of luck after a few years, when Windows 7 eventually says goodbye like we said goodbye to Windows XP.

At that point, your choice will either be to stick with the new Microsoft Windows 10 or switch to a competitor like the Apple, Inc. (AAPL)  MacBook. Of course, by then there may be other alternatives. We can only hope.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. 

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          August 31, 2015 11:42AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-escape-from-windows-10#sthash.tDYjnsHS.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150831/opinion/customer-experience-wins-if-done-right-kagan

Kagan: Customer experience wins if done right

By Jeff Kagan  on August 31, 2015   Business, Carriers, Opinion

Let me share with you some examples of how companies either hit it out of the park or strike out when it comes to their customer experience management. Customer experience is key to long-term business success. Customer Relationship Management or CRM is becoming an important differentiator between winning and struggling companies.

I spoke with Davy Kestens, CEO and co-founder at Sparkcentral. There are so many different companies and technologies that help other companies improve. Sparkcentral is a young company with fresh new ideas to help companies improve their customer relationship and experiences. This is how companies need to think going forward.

Treating the customer fairly and with respect is the bare minimum. Treating the customer like gold makes them fall in love with you and keeps them coming back forever. Why is this so difficult to achieve? It should be the focus of every executive and every employee.

Good customer experience used to be center stage, then we lost our way. Now we are refocusing, using new ideas and technologies. The problem is only some companies see this as important right now.

This is the opportunity for those who create a great customer experience. Customer care is the real battleground going forward. Itís important to keep your eyes on the ball. First decide what is your goal? Is it to win the argument or is it to build your customer base? These have two completely different outcomes.

Win argument and lose customer

It doesnít pay to win an argument if you lose a customer. I learned long ago, by watching companies who do this really well, how important a great customer experience actually is. New technology helps, but it all starts with a commitment from the top.

Keep customer happy to keep customer

The ultimate goal of any good customer service department is to keep the customer happy so you can keep the customer. If thatís the goal, a good customer experience is key.

Problems, if handled correctly, should be considered an opportunity to get closer to the customer. Problems are an opportunity to win and build a strong customer relationship.

Problem is opportunity to win long-term customer loyalty

Donít think of problems as problems. Turn things around. Rathe,r think of a problem as that magical moment when the customer decides whether to continue doing business with a company. No customer expects a flawless experience. However, every customer does expect the company they are spending money with to treat them fairly and well.

This is where the rubber meets the road. It is the moment where so many companies lose their way. There is a delightful experience every time I talk with American Express or Ritz-Carlton. They make you ďfeelĒ great.

If the customer service representative tries to win the argument rather than keep the customer, they lose no matter what happens next. Any friction is a point against the company. Too much friction will break the bond. So companies must continue to lubricate the relationship to keep the customer happy.

Every time you win, the customer loses. This result is often a choice made by the company on whether the customer experience will be good or bad. Train your customer care people well. The result says whether the customer is very happy and very long-term, or not. Itís really as simple as that.

Winners lead. Good companies follow. The rest are doomed. Like you, I have so many experiences with companies, good, bad and neutral. So what is your goal?

Take a look at a few examples of companies and how they handled different situations and you decide which are the real winners and losers.

Apple delights. They are not perfect, believe me, but they do a great job relating to their customers on a very special level. There is an emotional connection between the company and the customer. Sure, there are plenty of things Apple screws up, but they keep growing because the customers love them and overlook things that go wrong. They donít just like, they love Apple.

Microsoft Windows 10 is really starting to drive me crazy. They think my computer is their marketing tool. However, I paid for the computer and itís mine. Who gave them permission to paste notes all over my Internet Explorer screen urging me to install Windows 10? How dare they continue to waste my time clicking them off my screen. They are driving me away from Internet Explorer and into the arms of Google. If they keep this up they may drive me into the arms of Apple. Is that what they really want?

LA Fitness disappointed me when we cancelled a membership. They kept charging my credit card, every month for years, before I caught on. When I called again to request a refund of several thousand dollars for the unused years, they said no. They could see there was no usage for a long time. They should have notified me long before I caught them. When I found their error, they should have done the right thing. They had several chances to fix this problem. They didnít. This was a short-term win, but they lose big time by losing many new members from my friends and family who hear this story.

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is a magical place where my family spends many summer vacations. By magical I donít mean the property itself, although it is beautiful. By magical I mean they are always there and always delighting us. This is unlike most hotel resort stays. They take your happiness seriously. At Sonesta, guest happiness is not businessÖ itís personal. They empower everyone to make sure the guest stays happy, and it works. Great philosophy.

AT&T and Verizon are two of the nationís largest phone companies. Looking back a few decades, telephone companies had customer care problems. Remember from the 1970s the character Ernestine, the telephone company operator on TVís Rowan and Martinís Laugh In? Since then telephone companies have improved dramatically with customer experience. Today they not only offer great service, but they also offer great customer care and experience. Today customers love them.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter are some of the nations largest cable television companies. Today they are on a similar path phone companies were on decades ago. Even if they had the best service, customers wouldnít notice because they donít think they are treated with respect. Cable TV is getting better, but they must also improve their customer relationship so it getís noticed. That they have not mastered yet.

McDonaldís is a business where it seems like it should be easy to please the customer right? Then why is it every time I order a Quarter Pounder and drive off, I find out it has cheese? I didnít order a Quarter Pounder with cheese. I donít like a Quarter Pounder with cheese. I didnít want a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Yet McDonalds wants to do things their way, not the customerís way. Is ticking off the customer the right marketing strategy?

These are just a few of countless examples of companies who do a great job at keeping the customer happy, and those that screw up their golden opportunity. We all experience our own list of good and bad experiences donít we?

So if you are a company contemplating the importance and value of strong relationships with your customer, you have three choices: good, bad or neutral. I shouldnít have to say this, but continually improving the customer experience and your CRM is one of the keys to long-term business success.

Just a thoughtÖ if that were the case, wouldnít it be in your best interest if your long-term goal was to have your customers love you?

 

Apple Charter Communications Comcast customer experience Microsoft Time Warner Cable Verizon

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/I-Cant-Hear-You-the-Washing-Machine-Is-Too-Loud-82424.html

ANALYST CORNER

I Can't Hear You, the Washing Machine Is Too Loud

GE obviously has forgotten some basic rules. Customers make buying decisions based on a number of factors -- among them, advertising, marketing, PR, past experiences, and recommendations from family or friends. However, one thing is for sure: Customers want to be happy with their purchase. In fact, they want to be delighted -- but they would be happy just to be happy. Why can't GE get this right?

By Jeff Kagan

Aug 27, 2015 10:01 AM PT

Why do my GE washer and dryer sound as loud as a hurricane? As I sit here at the beach, on the balcony, on a beautiful, sunny, warm and peaceful morning watching the sun rise over the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, something is terribly wrong.

What? I can't hear you. Could you speak louder? Sorry, the new washer and dryer we recently bought are roaring so loud I can't hear myself think.

We've had this place at the beach for a while, and it is a perfect place to unwind -- that is, unless we have some laundry to do. Then this peaceful place transforms into a war zone. Suddenly it's like living inside a roaring 747 jet engine on full throttle.

When we bought this place, it came preloaded with GE appliances -- you know, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer. Most worked OK, but certain things started bothering me over time.

The rack in the dishwasher has a habit of detaching. Oops. The front of the microwave oven has developed cracks. Oops again. When our clothes washer and dryer finally bit the dust, we replaced them with new GE machines.

I was smart about the purchase. I asked the salesperson to make sure this new washer and dryer would be quiet. However, after the installation we found out it was even noisier -- much noisier. Oops, once again.

Why the Din?

How can a giant company like GE screw up so badly? Talk about unhappy customers. Why are these new appliances so dang loud? What is the problem here?

I don't dislike GE. I know GE. I have always loved GE. GE is a friend of mine... but GE, you let me down.

This column is not about stock price, corporate identity or industry leadership. This column is about a loyal GE customer getting screwed.

How can a company continue to grow when its performance is so poor? That's the big question.

Why Customers Buy

Customers make buying decisions based on a number of factors -- among them, advertising, marketing, PR, past experiences, and recommendations from family or friends.

However, one thing is for sure: Customers want to be happy with their purchase. In fact, they want to be delighted -- but they would be happy just to be happy.

Then why can't GE get this right? Why are these appliances so screwed up? Doesn't it realize that customers who buy its branded equipment will be unhappy with the quality and the noise?

Doesn't it realize that appliances don't last forever and do need to be replaced? Doesn't it realize that if customers are happy, then they more likely than not will make a repeat purchase? Doesn't it realize that unhappy customers will not return?

1st Rule of Business

There are basic rules of commerce -- rules that GE obviously has forgotten.

We built a home in the Atlanta area years ago, and it's getting close to the time when we'll need to replace appliances. We've already had to replace our home washer and dryer twice in the last 10 to 15 years.

The first replacement was a Whirlpool Cabrio, which was huge, but it always gave us trouble. We had to call for service more times than I could count.

The Lonely Repairman

Next we replaced it with a Samsung washer and dryer. So far, the Samsung appliances are performing well. Why can't they all? Whatever happened to that lonely Maytag repairman, anyway?

Our Thermador oven and stovetop, and our Sub-Zero fridge work great, when they work. Unfortunately, we have had to call for service quite a few times with them as well.

Now we just unplug the auto light feature on the gas stove, because the darn thing continually snips and clicks 24 hours a day.

Home Appliances Getting Worse

To tell you the truth, I never had problems with appliances before. Is it that they were too good in the past? Did the high quality and reliability mean customers didn't need replacements often enough?

The appliance business is starting to look a lot like the old light bulb business. Thomas Edison invented the Eternal Light, which supposedly would never burn out.

It turns out that was a fake, but the concept is not one that bulb manufacturers would approve of, anyway. They want to sell light bulbs -- that means the more limited their life span, the more they sell.

That's right, it's in the manufacturers' interests to make light bulbs worse, not better, so they can keep selling light bulbs and stay in business.

Of course, you can buy light bulbs that do seem to last forever. I have some bulbs that have been burning for more than a decade. Imagine that. Why can't all lights last that long?

Unreliable Appliances

Back to the very loud, very distracting, and very obnoxious washer and dryer that we now own and will be forced to keep for many more unhappy and very noisy years. Thank you very much, GE.

I hope home appliance makers return to making good appliances once again. That would be nice -- but I see no hope yet. Something's got to give.

So, rather than sitting here enjoying the quiet island breeze and listening to the surf, I have to struggle to hear anything over the roar of the washer and dryer. I can't hear my wife, I can't hear the doorbell -- I can't hear the dog bark or the phone ring.

As I sit here, the TV is on CNBC as loud as it will go. Is the stock market melting, or is this a report on the ice cream industry? There is so much noise in my quiet little beach house that all I want to do is SCREAM!

Ha... what did you say? I can't make out a word you are saying. Wait till the washer and dryer turn off, then maybe we can talk... if I have any hearing left, that is. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150825/opinion/sprint-att-verizon-tmobile-kagan

Kagan: Congrats AT&T, Sprint and wireless industry

By Jeff Kagan  on August 25, 2015   Carriers, Opinion

The most recent studies were just released by both J.D. Power and RootMetrics, and they both say the entire wireless community looks better and stronger than ever before. Users say AT&T Mobility and Sprint are the best, according to J.D. Power. In fact this is the fifth first place award in a row for AT&T. Sprint is most improved. So what can we expect going forward?

The good news is every carrier improved over last year. Quality, reliability, speed and reach in the wireless industry continues to get better year after year. So congratulations to the entire wireless industry are in order.

In these two studies, J.D. Power says customers judge AT&T Mobility as best in quality and reliability, five times in a row. They also say Sprint Boost is the most improved, which is a major improvement during the last year.

RootMetrics looked at quality. This shows every carrier getting better and stronger. This is another important study since we use wireless increasingly. While not the focus of these studies, VoLTE, or HD Voice, is key to vastly improved voice quality going forward.

As expected, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless were at the top of both the J.D. Power and RootMetrics list. AT&T led with J.D. Power and Verizon led with RootMetrics. However both are at the top of their game.

Sprint is vastly improved over such a short period of time. They are a much stronger number three over the last year. They saw the biggest improvement in quality and service.

T-Mobile is still number four and show their greatest strength in urban, not suburban areas. Their limited spectrum makes it difficult to show improvement, but they are still growing.

How To Choose Best Wireless Carrier for You

J.D. Power and RootMetrics and other studies are an important part of the mix when deciding which carrier to choose. However they should not be your only test.

Also use your past experience with carriers to determine which is best for you. Your experience could be much better or much worse depending on where you are when you make the call. Carriers all have strengths and weaknesses. You must determine which carrier is strongest where you spend time.

Other Wireless Carriers

Unrelated to these studies, after the big four, U.S. Cellular is number five with roughly 5 million customers. C Spire Wireless is number six with roughly 1 million customers. Shentel and nTelos are number seven and eight, but are in the process of merging.

So as you can see, the vast majority of American consumers and companies are customers of one of the big four. There are reasons for this. AT&T and Verizon are at the top of the list, but both Sprint and T-Mobile have been showing improvement and growth.

Bottom line, the wireless industry is stronger than ever, but is changing faster than ever. The RootMetrics and J.D. Power surveys say the news is good for these carriers and in fact the entire industry is better and stronger.

Thatís something that should make every customer happy. Just spend some time and make sure you pick the best carrier for you because where you make your calls is all that really matters.

AT&T J.D. Power RootMetrics Sprint T-Mobile Verizon wireless infrastructure

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-will-comcast-or-charter-acquire-t-mobile

Jeff Kagan: Will Comcast or Charter Acquire T-Mobile?

By Jeff Kagan

August 24, 2015 1:34PM   

Tickers Mentioned: TWC CHTR DISH CMCSA T VZ S TMUS

In a world full of mergers, acquisitions and industry changes, one of the next natural waves of M&A, or at least partnerships, would seem to be older cable television companies and the wireless industry. The only question is: Which TV providers, and which wireless carriers?

There are many players, large and small. On the cable television and pay TV space, there are larger companies like Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC) , Cox, Charter Communcications, Inc (CHTR)  and DISH Network Corp (DISH) . There are also countless smaller providers from coast-to-coast as well.

On the wireless side, there are just four national carriers, AT&T, Inc. (T)  Mobility, Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) , Sprint Corp. (S)  and T-Mobile US (TMUS) . There are smaller wireless carriers as well, but they donít have the footprint, speed or spectrum to be of value in this.

Wireless and Pay TV Merger

If the cable television industry would be interested in a wireless acquisition, there are a few possibilities. After the merger with Time Warner Cable and BrightHouse is complete, the two big industry players will be Comcast and Charter.

Comcast and Charter will be the largest competitors, and have the largest need for wireless. However they are not national providers, which complicates matters. Will they be able to successfully run a wireless company when they failed in the past?

So Comcast or Charter could be interested in acquiring a wireless carrier. Which carrier is the question? We have seen interest from T-Mobile over the last several years. They would be a good option, although they have limited wireless spectrum. This would not be as big a problem for Dish Network since they have spectrum, but other cable television companies may find a Dish hookup more difficult.

Sprint is another wireless carrier, which might be in the mix. They have spectrum, and an improving network experience for customers. So they could be interesting to cable television companies without spectrum. Will they be a player going forward?

Where Cable TV Will Get Wireless

The next question is: Will the cable television companies be interested in working together with the wireless industry as opposed to acquiring? I think this might be the quickest way to solve the cable television problem...especially since they donít seem to be able to operate a wireless carrier on their own looking at their past performance.

Wireless and pay TV is going to continue to grow, but the recipe for growth is changing. Pay TV needs to be able to deliver programming wirelessly over smartphones and tablets to any place the customer happens to be.

Another important question is: What about all the other cable television providers, large and small, all over the USA? They all need a wireless arm as well to deliver television to smartphones and tablets anywhere in the country. Where will they get their wireless connection?

New Opportunity for Wireless Industry

That may be a new and huge growth opportunity for the entire wireless industry. Companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile could all expand their business and offer a Pay TV chapter in their wireless story. However T-Mobile doesnít seem to have enough spectrum at this time.

Today, the service provider with the biggest package of services is AT&T. With their DirecTV, U-verse, AT&T Mobility, GigaPower and other services, they seem to have the widest range of growth oriented services. I also expect they will continue to blend their existing services and continue to add more opportunities to the mix.

If they decide to jump in with a full package of cable television related services, both Verizon Wireless and Sprint can also be a winner going forward. So AT&T, Verizon and Sprint seem to be the best bets to partner with today.

Merger, Acquisition and Partnership

With all this said, we may be seeing the marketplace gearing up for quite a ride with M&A and partnership activity between the pay TV space and the wireless industry. That raises lots of interesting questions whether you are an investor, customer, worker or partner. The industry could be on the verge of going through another major transformation.

Which Companies Will Succeed?

As always, some companies will do well while others will fail. The only question is which is which. I would say AT&T, Verizon and Sprint stand the most to gain on the wireless side. If they offer a good quality and innovative wireless option for the pay TV industry, they could be a big winner if they offer good packages.

The biggest question mark comes from the cable television side. If they are forward thinking and successfully integrate a good wireless arm to their mix, then they can win big as well. However if they donít they may crash and burn. I believe weíll see companies on both sides of this fence.

Enter the Wireless Race or Die

Regardless, this is not a race the pay television industry can sit out. It may be as simple as entering enter the wireless race and winning, or die. If they donít enter the race and donít offer a wireless service, they will ultimately lose.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          August 24, 2015 1:34PM   

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-will-comcast-or-charter-acquire-t-mobile#sthash.juYuEjuJ.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Wireless-Performance-Studies-and-You-82403.html

ANALYST CORNER

Wireless Performance Studies and You

The J.D. Power and RootMetrics survey results say two very important things about the wireless industry in the United States: 1) Carriers are getting better, faster and stronger; and 2) Customers are noticing the improvements. There still are many differences between carriers based on your location. If you are lucky, multiple carriers will be strong where you spend time. Don't assume. Test.

By Jeff Kagan

Aug 20, 2015 5:41 PM PT

It appears both AT&T Mobility and Sprint deserve congratulations on their great performances, based on two just-released studies on the wireless wars. J.D. Power and RootMetrics revealed some interesting and surprising new information on this changing marketplace.

For the fifth time, AT&T won first place with J.D. Power. For its part, Sprint showed significant performance improvement over the last year.

That is the kind of information customers use to determine the best network and service.

The good news is that every carrier improved over the last year -- the two studies rank leadership.

Customers placed both AT&T Mobility and Sprint Boost ahead of the pack in quality and reliability, according to the J.D. Power study.

However, every competitor has improved its quality, the RootMetrics study found. That's good news for customers. Verizon Wireless squeaked by AT&T Mobility, but they're virtually tied at No. 1.

The big change is the improvement at Sprint. Sprint is now a much stronger No. 3, compared to last year. T-Mobile is still No. 4, and it shows its greatest strength in urban areas.

Which Wireless Carrier Is Best for You?

There are three ways to choose the best wireless carrier for you: Trust your past experiences; talk with family and friends; and consider national studies.

AT&T and Verizon consistently have held the top spots for quality, speed and reliability.

Sprint and T-Mobile have been lagging behind the leaders, but that is changing. Both companies have been expanding their wireless quality, reach and speed.

It's important to take competitive television advertising with a grain of salt. Perhaps it's all true, but it's not always the whole truth. When a carrier claims it is the fastest, for example, that does not mean it's fastest everywhere. Unless it's the fastest at your location, that claim means little to you.

Most Improved: Sprint

The biggest change is the recovery at Sprint. It has jumped from fourth place to second place in some categories, and it is showing strong recovery.

Both AT&T and Verizon have had the fastest and most extensive wireless networks in the United States over the last decade. That is still the case, but Sprint and T-Mobile have been investing in and improving their networks over the past few years.

The Spectrum Question

Every carrier needs more wireless spectrum to keep growing.

AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have strong wireless spectrum holdings to serve their customers.

Sprint has plenty of available spectrum, and it's even leasing it to smaller competitors.

T-Mobile does not have a lot of spectrum.

The J.D. Power and RootMetrics survey results say two very important things about the wireless industry in the United States: 1) Carriers are getting better, faster and stronger; and 2) Customers are noticing the improvements.

There still are many differences between carriers based on your location. One carrier may be best for you. However, if you are lucky, multiple carriers will be strong where you spend time. Don't assume. Test.

Choosing Your Carrier

Networks do change and improve, but trust your past experience. Ask your family and friends as well. Also, wireless studies are very helpful. No one approach is best -- they are all part of the ongoing process of determining which carrier offers the best quality for you. That is all you should care about.

It's important to stay on top of the studies, because carriers can get better or worse from time to time, depending on competition and on investment dollars assigned to a particular area. Remember, a carrier can be best on a national study, but all you care about is how it performs where you spend time. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-at-t-t-directv-dtv-vs-cable-tv

Jeff Kagan: AT&T (T) DirecTV (DTV) vs. Cable TV

By Jeff Kagan 

August 19, 2015 6:08AM   

Tickers Mentioned: DTV T CMCSA TWC CHTR VZ CTL DISH

AT&T stock, DirecTV stock, pay television, cable providers, wireless providers, stocks to buy now

The recent acquisition of DirecTV (DTV)  by AT&T (T)  may be a game changer. It has the potential to completely redefine the entire Pay TV space. It turns the pressure up on every competitor including Comcast (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Charter (CHTR) , Cox, Verizon FiOS (VZ) , CenturyLink Prism (CTL) , and Dish Network (DISH) . So what can we expect going forward?

I am an industry analyst who follows the communications space including wireless, telephone, Internet and of course Pay TV including IPTV and Cable Television.

I am also a customer of AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable and can see first hand the enormous threat and opportunity AT&T DirecTV represents.

AT&T DirecTV Could Transform Cable TV

The cable television world has to decide the best competitive strategy. Will they try and knock AT&T DirecTV down, or will they raise their own game? Thatís the important question going forward. Either way, the game is changing.

Looking backwards, I would say every cable television company would be worried about protecting their turf and would therefore try and knock AT&T DirecTV down. Looking forward though, I would hope cable TV would see the writing on the wall and raise their game. Thatís their only chance to remain competitive.

Cable TV is Changing

Cable television is no longer the rapidly growing industry it once was. It is losing market share for the first time ever to new competitors like AT&T Uverse, Verizon FiOS, and CenturyLink Prism.

AT&T and Verizon blended their IPTV service with their wireless networks and created new offerings which customers love. Today viewers watch television on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops from any place in the United States.

This competitive pressure forced the cable television industry to acquire wireless spectrum and compete. The only problem is they failed. They failed at offering wireless phones, and they sold their wireless spectrum to Verizon before they realized they needed it to compete against the new way we watch television.

So cable TV companies struck a deal with Verizon Wireless, which operates as the wireless carrier for companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, and Cox. This is good, but is it enough?

As a reseller, the cable television industry cannot be innovative because they donít own the wireless network.

AT&T Reinvents DirecTV

Thatís where this AT&T DirecTV comes into play. The same company, AT&T, owns both DirecTV and AT&T Mobility. This will allow DirecTV to start offering wireless connectivity to their customers. That was the first announcement made by AT&T after the merger. Thatís a huge first step. As time goes by, I expect to see many innovations from this partnership as well.

Dish Network Alone Without Wireless

Dish Network has plenty of wireless spectrum, but they simply canít find a wireless carrier to acquire or even to partner with yet. So Dish is the only television company without a wireless option.

Thatís something that must be remedied, quickly, or it may impact growth. We have seen quite a bit of activity, but nothing ever happens. Not yet anyway.

Watching DirecTV Wirelessly

First thing AT&T did after acquiring DirecTV was to announce users could now watch TV wirelessly. This will make all the difference in the world to DirecTV users. And that is only the first step. I believe this will make DirecTV much more attractive in a competitive marketplace.

I fully expect we will see much more in the way of innovative offerings going forward. I expect to see them blend the satellite television, U-verse IPTV, wireless, telephone, and internet. I expect to see new ideas and innovations coming sooner rather than later. So stay tuned.

AT&T is Innovative and Competitive

AT&T has always been an aggressive competitor, transforming the spaces they are in, and I fully expect the same thing will happen here.

Just like they were the first and most aggressive to offer many things like smartphones and had the exclusive on the Apple (AAPL)  iPhone for years. They offer U-verse TV and GigaPower ultra high speed Internet and much more as well helping to transform different industries.

Thatís the kind of moves I expect to see coming from AT&T. I think we are about to see them turn up the heat and transform the entire pay TV space. However, I also expect to see integration. So you will not only be able to buy separate services, but these services will work together in new ways.

Expect Innovation

Innovation will capture the imagination of the marketplace and win business. That will create plenty of threats to existing leaders and inspire challenges from the established players. Some ideas will be home runs and others will be strikeouts, but either way, we will see plenty of innovation transforming the pay TV space going forward.

Keep your eyes open for how Pay TV will blend with wireless and the internet going forward. These formerly separate sectors are blending and integrating. Tomorrow, we wonít be watching TV the same way we did yesterday. As the space changes, new leaders may replace old leaders. The transformation has begun.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          August 19, 2015 6:08AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-at-t-t-directv-dtv-vs-cable-tv#sthash.CXx4f4cO.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150817/opinion/ctia-super-mobility-vs-cca-annual-convention

Kagan: CTIA Super Mobility vs. CCA Annual Convention

By Jeff Kagan

August 17, 2015  

Carriers, Network Infrastructure, Opinion

There are two important wireless industry conventions coming up. One is CTIA Super Mobility 2015. The other is the 2015 CCA Annual Convention. CCA, the Competitive Carriers Association, is not as well known by as many in the industry, but it should be. Both are important. Let me explain why.

CTIA focuses on the larger, wireless industry. The CTIA is an advocacy group and conference and is focused on many important wireless issues their member companies face in the marketplace. They focus more on larger carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. However they also focus on smaller wireless networks and the wide variety of companies, which support the wireless industry.

They tackle all sorts of issues like competition, innovation, regulation, challenges and growth opportunities. This is a massive show because it represents the majority of the wireless marketplace. AT&T and Verizon are the two largest carriers in the industry. They have earned roughly 70% market share between the two of them.

CCA focuses more on the smaller carriers, which make up the other 30% of the wireless marketplace. These are companies like Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, C-Spire Wireless and many others. Some of these like Sprint and T-Mobile operate as national players and the rest are in smaller regional markets around the country.

The same service and support companies which work with the larger competitors also work with the smaller ones. Companies like Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Interop Technologies, Syniverse and more, play an important role to all wireless players. Iíll be writing about some of these companies and important issues in upcoming columns.

Wireless is Rapidly Growing, ButÖ

Many of the important issues are the same for both CTIA and CCA. So you may wonder why there are two different associations and conferences. The answer is simple: while large carriers and small carriers agree on plenty, they donít agree on everything.

The wireless industry in the United States is a rapidly growing space, but there are several stumbling blocks, which need to be recognized, discussed and fixed.

Wireless in the USA is one of the fastest growing and healthiest spaces. The wireless industry is the center of the universe. So we must keep it unencumbered and rapidly growing. This does not mean that every competitor is doing well. Some are and others are, well, struggling to one extent or another.

Spectrum Shortage

Every wireless competitor has the same kind of need for things like spectrum. This gives them all an opportunity for growth. Making sure all players have access to what they need.

However wireless spectrum is in short supply. Not having enough is a fear every wireless carrier faces. All carriers need spectrum in order to remain competitive and grow. Spectrum is acquired from the US Government through auctions.

Unfortunately the wireless industry does not share spectrum. Carriers would rather own.

Thankfully, smaller carriers lease spectrum from larger carriers. Spectrum is the on-ramp and is how they let customers use wireless data services. As we have all learned in recent years, data services using spectrum is the center of the wireless universe.

So spectrum is a key piece of the puzzle for success of every carrier. Thatís why itís vital that every company have access to wireless data spectrum in order to remain competitive.

Larger Companies Can Only Share Spectrum if They Have Enough

The problem is spectrum is limited. And companies can only share when they have enough. And unfortunately, most carriers donít have enough as their customer demand more year after year. This means carriers must make hard decisions to make as to the best way to share their spectrum.

Here are a few examples:

AT&T Mobility says they lease spectrum through their MVNO program when companies resell their services. Separately they also have roaming partner agreements. Plus there are many other wireless operators in the US and around the world where they have reciprocal roaming relationships.

Verizon says their LRA program leases some spectrum to smaller carriers, however they must also use Verizon services, and they cannot use their own spectrum.

Sprint says they lease spectrum and has a strategic partnership with roughly 30 smaller carriers. They are very active in this leasing space.

T-Mobile says they would lease, however they need every drop of spectrum they have right now for their own growing customer base.

So if many of the top four wireless carriers in the USA are struggling with capacity needs for their customers from limited spectrum, what about the smaller providers like US Cellular, C Spire, newcomers like Google Project Fi and all the smaller providers from coast to coast?

No Easy Answers

This is the problem with no easy solution. There are no easy answers. The need continues to grow, but there just is not enough spectrum for every competitor. Itís like musical chars, that childhood game we all played, when  10 people are walking around nine chairs. When the music stops everyone sits down, but someone is always left without a seat and is out of the game.

In a perfect world, sharing spectrum would not be a problem. Everyone understands the need and wants to do so. The problem is we donít live in a perfect world and spectrum is limited. As the wireless industry continues to grow, and as customers use more spectrum every year, every carrier needs more spectrum.

No Enemies Here

So large and small carriers must work together to develop a real solution to this growing problem. Wireless competitors should compete with each other and win or lose based on service, reliability, quality, speed and price, not based one lack of spectrum.

And spectrum is just one problem the CTIA and CCA are trying to solve by working with their members and the US government.

These are the types of battles being fought every day by both associations. Their conferences are a great place to mix and mingle with both wireless communities. Support companies and attend both shows because they serve all competitors. There are no enemies here.

CTIA and CCA are two very important groups if we want the wireless industry in the USA to remain healthy and rapidly growing for all. To fully understand the wireless industry and all the challenges and opportunities, itís important to participate in both shows, even if you are on one side or the other.

CCA CTIA Sprint T-Mobile US Verizon Wireless

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Will-Google-Win-the-Alphabet-Game-82371.html

ANALYST CORNER

Will Google Win the Alphabet Game?

Google had to do something. It's like a giant octopus with arms reaching in all directions. Actually, it's more like a giant bowl of spaghetti. It wants and needs to create order from all the chaos. Its Alphabet strategy will help, but it is not the smartest way to leverage the brand for success going forward. A slightly altered strategy could have let it do both.

By Jeff Kagan

Aug 13, 2015 7:00 AM PT

Earlier this week I planned to focus this column on saying farewell to Google+. Then Google suddenly announced something much bigger. It is splitting itself into several different companies under one master brand called "Alphabet."

Splitting up is what Google has needed to do for several years. The idea of creating a master brand makes enormous sense for a company like Google, which is an octopus with many arms. However, it is only right if it is done correctly. Some companies attempt it and win big time, but others fail.

A master brand is a top-level brand above all other brands. One of the most recent examples of success with a master brand is AT&T. A decade ago, SBC -- a smaller local phone company based in San Antonio, Texas -- acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular. Then it made AT&T its master brand with other companies operating under it.

Over the last decade, it has grown and entered many different spaces, with companies that include AT&T Mobility, Gigapower, U-verse, DirecTV and many others.

In Google's case, the best name for a master brand would be "Google," of course. However, the master brand instead is "Alphabet." That does not make sense to me.

The Master Brand Should Be Google

I would have preferred to see "Google" kept as the master brand, operating the search engine, Android and other services from that company. Then it could create several different names for the many other companies it runs.

Since it is not taking this path, it may not be thinking of a master brand strategy. If so, this is a missed opportunity.

Based on its direction, this does not seem like a real master brand story. It sounds as though customers will continue to use core Google services, like search and Android, under the "Google" name.

New companies will be home to other Google offerings. They will be the ones impacted by any confusion.

Some users will experience no difference. They will still do business with Google.

If that's the case, then this will stand a better chance of success, but it won't be a real master brand play, and it won't be as simple or as successful as it could be.

Others will experience some confusion, with new services under new company names.

If that's the case, Google will miss a great opportunity to reinvent in the next decade. That's a shame.

Some companies have carried out a master brand strategy correctly, and they have won big time. Others have flopped.

Google had a great opportunity for another big success in this area with the Google brand, which is so well known.

Too Big to Fail?

Because of its size and strength, Google is unlikely to flop. However, it won't get as big a bang for the buck as it could have.

Still, it had to do something. Google is like a giant octopus with arms reaching in all directions. Actually, it's more like a giant bowl of spaghetti. It wants and needs to create order from all the chaos.

Its Alphabet strategy will help, but it is not the smartest way to leverage the brand for success going forward. A slightly altered strategy could have let it do both.

In any case, Google needed to change. Bringing order to chaos is always a good thing. Now let's see how it does. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-turnaround-has-begun

Jeff Kagan: Sprint Turnaround Has Begun

By Jeff Kagan

August 10, 2015 11:52AM   

Tickers Mentioned: S TMUS GOOG T VZ

The Sprint Corp ($S) turnaround looks like it has begun. Sprint surprised the marketplace last week and exceeded expectations with their quarterly report. So what does the future look like for Sprint and the larger wireless industry?

Customers, workers, partners and investors look at companies to see whether they are rising, cresting or falling on the growth wave. Sprint has taken a beating over the last decade. However, they are now starting to show signs of life and growth again.

Sprint and T-Mobile ($TMUS) both fell off the growth track a decade ago for different reasons. Now they are both starting to recover. T-Mobile started their climb roughly three years ago when they hired new CEO John Legere. They had been crashing and burning for years before that point.

Legere took them on an unconventional ride, which attacked the status quo and attracted attention to himself and to T-Mobile. Over the last couple years, they have actually been showing growth. Sprint started their recovery a few years later. During the last couple years, Sprint has gone through a dramatic transformation. In fact, that transformation still continues today.

Today Sprint is a Different Company

Today, Sprint is under ownership and direction from Masayoshi Son in Japan and Marcelo Claure, CEO here in the States. They both continue to reshape the company from the inside out with continued management changes and new marketing ideas that are connecting with the marketplace.

That said, the Sprint transformation is taking longer. Itís hard to look at a particular point in time as the moment of transition for Sprint. T-Mobileís moment of transition was when they hired their new CEO. However, Sprintís moment of transition is not a moment. Itís a longer-term transition period over several years.

Because of that, Sprintís recovery is taking longer than expected, however it looks like it has finally begun. Their latest earnings report shows the first signs of strong improvement. Sprint seems to finally be turning the corner.

Google and Sprint

Consider Google Inc. ($GOOG) as one example of Sprint's progress. Google has faith in Sprint. They have partnered with both Sprint and T-Mobile as their carriers for their MVNO wireless offering.

Like you, I would imagine Google could partner with any carrier they choose. That means Google is risking their own name and reputation for quality and reliability with their own customers in this new area of growth, based on their confidence in the Sprint network and performance. That is a strong feather in Sprints cap.

Turnarounds are a Long-Term Process

The quality and reliability problems that have haunted Sprint in the past seem to be clearing themselves up. After several years of investing in, and reinventing their network, today Sprint is much better and much stronger. Customer complaints seem to have dropped significantly as well.

Is Sprint perfect? NoÖbut no carrier is. Every carrier has issues, and a percentage of customers will always complain. However, at this point I would say Sprint quality and reliability is better and stronger than they have been in many years - and getting better all the time.

Different Path to Success for Sprint and T-Mobile

Turnarounds take time. They are a long-term process. Talking about turnarounds is a much shorter-term process, and is on a completely different track.

T-Mobile started talking up a storm before they had improved their networks. They got on the radar by challenging the existing wireless industry model and leaders. In the beginning, it was more about talk than reality.

However, they then spent time and money over the next few years improving and modernizing their network. They still have a lot of work to do, but they are making good progress and winning customers.

This is the same path Sprint is now on. The difference is they are just beginning their journey, and they are not being boisterous about it. However, they are improving their quality and reliability. Looking at their earnings report, as a result they are growing once again. It seems they are not losing customers any longer, and thatís the best news we have heard from this company in a while.

Turning a ship around has several compnents. First, you slow the loss. Then you end the loss. Then you start to grow. Then you grow more rapidly. Each step takes time. Sprint has been moving from step to step over the last couple years.

The next step is growth, then strong growth, and so far it looks like Sprint is entering that next chapter in their story.

Conclusion

Today both AT&T, Inc. ($T) Mobility and Verizon Wireless ($VZ) are virtually tied for first place. The same thing is happening with Sprint and T-Mobile being virtually tied for third place.

I hope things will continue in this good direction. If so, we will end up with four very strong national competitors in the wireless space. They will all compete and win different slices of the pie. And so far, that is exactly what seems to be happening.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          August 10, 2015 11:52AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-sprint-turnaround-has-begun#sthash.Z3Srwac4.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150810/opinion/industry-analyst-briefings-secret-revealed

Kagan: Secret to successful industry analyst briefing

By Jeff Kagan  on August 10, 2015   Opinion

The upcoming CTIA Super Mobility 2015 show reminds me once again of a problem many companies have dealing with the wireless analyst community. Since industry analyst opinions are important, every company wants us to think of and speak highly of them. So if good relationships with the telecom analyst community are so important, why do so many companies screw it up?

So many companies get in contact with me to brief me for many reasons including the hope it will help them get more coverage and attention. They want to be seen and get better known. However the result they are looking for takes more than a quick briefing. It seems only a small percentage of companies understand how analysts do business and how to get the best results.

As an wireless and telecom industry analyst, my phone is always ringing and my email box is always overloaded with hundreds of messages, every single day. Many are from reporters looking for comment on the stories they are writing. Others are from editors looking for my weekly columns.

However many others are from companies who want to get on my radar so I can understand and discuss them better. Some are from companies I have known and followed for many years. Others are from new companies who want to get on my radar for the first time and start a relationship. Still others are from companies who want a one-time briefing.

The problem is most executives donít understand the analyst business model, the process or the best ways to achieve their goals. The result is they fail more often then not. Only a small percentage of companies actually do a good or decent job.

Letís talk about a few ideas to help you improve your understanding, efforts and results.

Getting on telecom analyst radar

The marketplace is very noisy. Nevertheless you need to get good and positive coverage. So itís important to do everything within your power to help key analysts develop a good opinion of your company.

Itís important to understand each analyst. Generally speaking, there are several different analyst business models. If getting analysts to have the right opinion of your company is your goal then understanding the different models is one of the first important keys.

Understand, the wireless analyst community is very busy

Itís important to remember that analysts are busy. They follow many companies in one or more industry segments. They attend briefings by phone and in person. They spend lots of time thinking and writing columns and reports. They give comment to the media as they call on a daily basis for their stories. They focus on various groups like the investors, consumers, business customers, regulators and so on.

If you want best results, you have got to fit into the analystís busy world.

Keep initial briefing brief

Another key point is to keep the initial briefing brief. The reason is simple. The early stages of any relationship is the get-to-know each other period.

When analysts have a deeper understanding of your company, they are better able to offer comment on your progress and talk about you more clearly in their columns, to the media and in reports.

Too often however, companies donít make the right investment. They donít try to understand each analyst. Instead they simply dump a load of information on the first meeting and hope the analyst can swim.

All this does is leave the analyst stuck under a pile of steaming information trying to find the nuggets they are looking for.

Key analysts vs. general analysts

There are two different groups of analysts for each company and industry. There is the larger and more general analyst community with hundreds or thousands of more general analysts. Then there is a smaller group of key analysts. Key analysts are focused on your company and industry and have a much higher profile in the business community.

Key analysts are often quite influential. Their comments and opinions are often looked at and carried by the media to customers, workers, investors and so on. Having a good relationship with key analysts is very important.

I have learned this only because many companies consider me a key analyst, so I have experienced both sides of this coin.

As an industry analyst for decades, I have attended countless meetings where companies want to get on my radar. While itís not difficult, companies must realize they need to work the way I work or it will be like swimming upstream. Make it easy for analysts to follow you and compare.

Industry analyst sword cuts both ways

Having a good analyst relations program is one of the important keys to success for any company. The reason is the analyst community impacts opinions of the outside world including customers, workers, competitors, partners and investors. Analysts talk with the media, write columns, issue reports, give speeches, write books and offer their opinions in so many ways.

With that said, itís obviously very important to have a good long-term relationship with every important analyst that covers your company and your industry.

Build strong long-term relationships

I have worked with many companies over decades. Better results often develop over time and understanding.

Every successful analyst I know says the same thing. The best way to get on the analyst radar is to let them know you have followed them and want to start a relationship like they currently have with other companies they follow.

Explain whether you want to start a long-term relationship, or a one-time briefing. Let the analyst understand what you are looking for from the relationship. However itís just as important to listen.

Donít just talk, listen

One more important piece of adviceÖ donít just talkÖ listen. I know you want to talk and brief the analyst and have them better understand your company and be able to help, but itís just as important to listen.

Listen to the analyst when they describe how they work, what they look for, and figure out the best way to fit into their world.

You do this because you want the best result possible. You may think this is difficult, but is typically worth the effort.

Conclusion

There is so much more that I can share with you about improving your analyst relations. However if I got your attention, thatís a great first step. Building a strong analyst relationship requires give and take.

Remember sword cuts both ways and you want to improve your chances of having positive commentary and coverage. Working successfully with the analyst community is not an easy job, but it is worthwhile. If you take analyst relations seriously, you can be successful. Many companies are today. And thatís the goal!

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/The-Transformational-ATT-DirecTV-Merger-82346.html

ANALYST CORNER

The Transformational AT&T, DirecTV Merger

By Jeff Kagan

Aug 6, 2015 5:00 AM PT

AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV is more than a merger -- it is a transformational event that could change the entire television space. It has the potential to create such intense competition that it very well could transform the entire television space -- meaning cable TV, satellite TV and IPTV -- and blend it with wireless.

It means more choice and more innovation. Remember what AT&T did with Apple's iPhone a few short years ago? Those two companies' collaboration transformed the entire wireless industry. Previous leaders like BlackBerry and Nokia were crushed overnight as the new smartphone world was created.

The AT&T and DirecTV combo could have even greater potential. In the case of its partnership with Apple, AT&T lost its exclusive right to distribute the iPhone after a few years.

Cable television is at risk. It is a tired industry. It needs a refresh. It started losing market share a few years ago to new competitors like AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and CenturyLink Prism.

However, those competitors' footprints are regional, not national. AT&T's merger with DirecTV gives it a national footprint. That's what makes this deal so good for customers, the marketplace and AT&T.

Cable television companies have started to modernize and to improve their relationships with their customers. Comcast has introduced Xfinity, for example.

Benefits of U-verse Now on DirecTV

For the last several years, I have been warning the cable television industry that this new wave was coming. However, it ignored the coming threat. It can ignore it no longer -- now that AT&T and DirecTV are one, the transformation has begun.

Just a week after the ink dried, DirecTV made its first announcement as part of AT&T. It is offering customers the opportunity to blend their DirecTV and AT&T Mobility wireless services. That means customers will be able to watch television at home on their TV, or out and about on their smartphone, tablet or computer.

DirecTV's offer expands the benefits of AT&T U-verse to a nationwide marketplace.

AT&T customers now have a choice. They can choose IPTV through U-verse or satellite service through DirecTV. They can also view their programming selections over the wireless network.

This is big news for DirecTV customers and those who like the idea, but not the limits. There are no more limits -- and this change is just the beginning. Based on what we know about the way AT&T operates, we can expect more.

The Transformation Is Under Way

That's what we have to look forward to, thanks to the AT&T, DirecTV merger. Having followed AT&T as an industry analyst for the last few decades, I fully expect it will continue to roll out new announcements and innovations, and transform the entire television space.

This is not only a growth opportunity for AT&T and innovation for television customers, but also a move that will turn up the heat in the entire competitive landscape. Perhaps we will see yesterday's leaders -- like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox -- add fuel to the competitive fire. I hope so.

I don't want to see anyone fail. In fact, I want to see all competitors thrive. I think the AT&T, DirecTV deal is the transformational event that will change the entire industry. It could be just the kick in the butt all the other competitors need. We can only hope. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-and-google-transformative-companies

Jeff Kagan: AT&T and Google, Transformative Companies

By Jeff Kagan

August 3, 2015 11:56AM   

Tickers Mentioned: T GOOG MSFT LNKD TWTR AAPL NOK BBRY VZ S TMUS ORCL SBUX CMCSA AMZN TWX CHTR USM

There are three kinds of companies: transformative, innovative and stuck in the mud...and the differences between each are astounding. Innovative companies improve every year, but transformative companies create and expand new business segments. AT&T Inc. (T)  and Google, Inc. (GOOG)  are two transformative companies, and they are becoming competitors, which should turn up the heat on the entire industry.

AT&T and Google are in different business sectors, but they are both very important to the growth and transformation of their industries. This creates growth opportunities for other companies, which is great news for workers and investors alike.

We always talk about, and look for transformative people, companies and events. However, we often confuse innovation and transformation. There is plenty of innovation, but much less transformation.

However, transformation is the spark that grows the industry and the economy. Companies update and innovate all the time. This makes them, the products that they sell and we use, and in fact the entire industry, better. However there are very few companies who are truly transformative.

Transformational Companies Create Something Out of Nothing

There are plenty of transformational leaders, large and small. Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. Small companies like Apple, Inc. (AAPL)  Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) , Facebook, Inc. ($FBOOK) LinkedIn Corp (LNKD) and Twitter, Inc. (TWTR)  quickly grow and own a new industry space.

Transformative people and companies create something out of nothing. They create new business segments, which employ and partner with countless people and companies. They also create the environment for competitors to jump in and start up themselves.

Sometimes, transformative companies start small - like in a dorm room. Other times, transformation comes from seasoned corporate leaders who have the guts to blast new mines in a mountain in the hope of finding a new vein of gold.

We typically think transformational companies are small firms with big ideas. However, AT&T and Google are also transformational companies, and they are giants.

Companies like AT&T and Google take the arrows, but they create the new space full of new opportunities that they and other competitors eventually jump into as well. Letís take a closer look at both...

AT&T Gutís and Glory

A decade ago, the telephone space was full of smaller companies. So baby bell SBC acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular, which created the new AT&T and AT&T Mobility. This event transformed not just the company, but the entire industry and wireless space.

AT&T Mobility focused on the smartphone and was the most aggressive competitor. They were first to partner with Apple and sell the iPhone. In fact they were the only place to get an iPhone for several years.

AT&T and Apple created a marketplace explosion, which reinvented the entire wireless space, on the handset, the network and app side.

Before that, wireless was a normal growth oriented business. Leaders on the handset side were AT&T Mobility, Verizon (VZ)  Wireless and Sprint (S) . Leaders on the handset side were Nokia Corporation (NOK)  and Blackberry Ltd (BBRY) . There were only a few hundred business oriented apps.

Wireless Changed and Grew

However, over a few short years, the wireless space changed. Handset leaders shifted to Apple iPhone and Google Android like Samsung Galaxy. A few hundred apps grew to more than a million in a few short years.

This explosion rewarded AT&T and Apple, but also many other competitors, workers, customers and investors as the sector grew. The smartphone explosion was on.

Eventually, every other wireless network and handset maker jumped into this space and everyone is seeing growth, but the big bang all started with AT&T Mobility and Apple iPhone.

Next for AT&T

Today AT&T is continuing to expand into other new areas, which could transform new industry segments. An example is wireless in Mexico, which is a big opportunity for AT&T, which they are building as we speak.

Another example is the recent acquisition of DirecTV. This will not only allow AT&T to offer service and compete coast-to-coast, but will also let them blend television with Uverse and DirecTV with telephone with wireless with Internet and more.

AT&T has also been winning many awards for quality, customer care and innovation from a wide variety of sources like JD Power. This company leads not only in innovation like a few others in their space, but they also lead as a transformative company, which they are one of a very few.

Google Going Wireless

Google is another transformative company. They started as a simple search engine, which worked faster and better than competitors. Then they started to grow. Today, Google comes up with so many new ideas and every one of them is transformative even though every idea doesnít always work.

Typically, if Google cannot transform or reinvent and own a business category, they are not interested. There are many categories they try and struggle and eventually fail, however there are many others where they succeed and those are the ones they build.

Think of Google as a company, which throws many ideas against the wall. Whatever sticks they build. They walk away from plenty of ideas, but plenty more do transform new industry segments.

Google is not a wireless company, but they want to be a wireless leader. Google Android is their wireless smartphone operating system. Itís in their Nexus wireless handset and many others like Samsung Galaxy devices. While the OS is a huge success, their handset is not yet.

Now Google is getting into the network side of the wireless world. Google Project Fi is an MVNO or reseller sort of like Tracfone. They use both Sprint and T-Mobile (TMUS)  network. It will be interesting to see if they can make this grow or not.

Google Fiber is also building out ultra fast Internet access in certain cities nationwide. Plus there are many other transformational areas they are growing in.

Partners and Competitors

This is interesting because as Google grows, we see them competing in new segments with existing leaders. Consider Google Project Fi competing with wireless networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. Google typically creates a new category to lead. It will be interesting to watch what comes next here.

Also consider Google Nexus competing with other smartphone makers like Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. This has not been successful yet. However, Google Fiber, which competes with AT&T Gigapower and others, is successful.

What This Means

What this says to me is that both AT&T and Google will be two of the top hot competitors going forward. This is the first time these two companies have really competed and it will be very interesting to watch new marketing ideas come into play.

What this also means is stand-alone services are disappearing as combined services take their place. Thatís why DirecTV needed to be acquired by AT&T. Thatís also the reason Dish Networks needs to partner with a wireless company like T-Mobile which weíve been discussing of late. This is the same with stand-alone cable television providers and others.

Partial List of Transformational Players

Now pull the camera back and take a look at the longer list of transformational players. There are plenty of other people and companies in different industries who are transformers as well. They changed their industry and created incredible business opportunities for countless people, companies and investors.

These include Steve Jobs of Apple. Bill Gates of Microsoft. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) . Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation (ORCL) . Howard Schultz of Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) and so many more.

There are also plenty of other companies who may not be transformational, but they are innovative. They are changing the way they do business going forward. Companies like Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWX) , Charter Communications, Inc (CHTR), Cox, Verizon and Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular Corp (USM) , C-Spire Wireless and many others including all the wireless handset makers. Some of these companies are doing much better than others.

So as you can see, both AT&T and Google are transforming the entire communications technology space. They are not only creating new growth opportunities for themselves, but they are also creating new industry sectors and new opportunities, which will benefit many other workers, customers, companies and investors.

So itís important to keep your eyes open for what these and other transformational companies are up to, how they are changing the industry, and whatís coming next. They are the key to growth opportunities going forward.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          August 3, 2015 11:56AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-and-google-transformative-companies#sthash.jJYiMC8U.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150803/opinion/ctia-super-mobility-2015-enterprise-solutions

Kagan: Enterprise solutions at CTIA Super Mobility

By Jeff Kagan  on August 3, 2015   Carriers, Opinion

I met with Steve Brumer of 151 Advisors about the upcoming CTIA Super Mobility 2015. He invited me to speak at their  all-day event at the show called APP-SOLUTELY Enterprise. The more we talked, the more interested I became. Let me explain.

Enterprise solutions are very important to the wireless industry. Brumer says 151 Advisors is a consulting firm that helps technology companies accelerate growth, revenue and operational initiatives. They build and manage go-to-market strategies that drive revenue growth and increase shareholder value. They help B2B growth-stage companies as well as emerging technology, enterprise mobility, security, telecom, wireless, connected-car, M2M and IoT.

Their APP-SOLUTELY Enterprise event at the CTIA show is a highly interactive, fast-paced learning and networking event for CIOís, IT leaders, application developers, end users, mobile operators and corporate decision makers. It will have presentations and panels on many areas including Mobile App Development, Mobile Security, Enterprise Mobility Management, IoT and M2M.

Brumer says attendees will receive actionable intelligence from enterprise mobility experts to build their enterprise-wide mobile strategy, develop mobile applications, deploy IoT technology and manage their enterprise ecosystem.

Wireless Growth for Companies, Workers and Investors

This got me thinking about the wide range of companies, products and services and needs the CTIA show actually addresses from every area of wireless. There will be plenty of companies everyone knows and there will be plenty more that are not well known, but which are key to the growth of wireless over the next decade.

As I wrote in last weekís column, CTIA has invited me once again to be a judge in their 2015 CTIA Awards. As I review the different companies, their technologies and their entries, I can see so many different wireless categories in both the business and consumer space.

There are many new wireless ideas, technologies and companies in the consumer, business and government space. This continues to be a growing and important space going forward. I believe wireless is the center of the universe going forward.

Wireless is Center of the Universe

Winning at wireless takes more skills than most individual companies have on their own. Thatís where a growing variety of companies provide help. While larger carriers handle much on their own, smaller carriers need more outside help to remain competitive.

These companies provide knowledge, services, support and equipment to make every wireless carrier, handset maker and app maker better in an increasingly competitive playing field. And that it key to success going forward.

Business, Consumer and Government

There are so many well-known companies in the wireless space. Networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile US, US Cellular, C-Spire Wireless, Tracfone, and even newcomers like Google Project Fi and others. Smartphone handset makers like Apple iPhone, Google Android, Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry and others. Plus there are plenty of other companies like app makers who themselves are large and small.

Growth at all these wireless companies comes from many different areas. And there are a variety of companies and technologies to help leading companies continue to lead.

Growth in wireless is becoming more important as every year goes by. Security is one of the keys to continued successfully building the industry. So are the IoT, the Cloud and M2M. On the consumer side apps and gaming continue to grow.

On top of all that, these companies and technologies make the industry better, faster and stronger. Wireless is also growing by helping other industries like healthcare, retail, automotive transform themselves. Just a quick look at the healthcare segment is always astounding.

There are so many great ideas introduced each year at CTIA. This year is no exception.

Hidden Opportunities in Wireless

In this explosive growth-oriented wireless world, there are plenty of companies like 151 Advisors who help wireless companies improve and become more competitive. And there are plenty of companies that need lots of help.

Wireless companies need to continue to improve. Fortunately there are plenty of companies to help them do just that. These are just some of the many hidden opportunities in the wireless world. The world that most donít know, yet make wireless work.

Wireless companies canít do it all themselves. So they work with a growing variety of service providers to make their swords sharper. This is important as the wireless world becomes more competitive.

Cspire T-Mobile US US Cellular Verizon

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About Author

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/As-Wireless-Changes-So-Must-Marketing-82323.html

ANALYST CORNER

As Wireless Changes, So Must Marketing

There are many different ways to carve out a segment of the changing wireless world. Some companies are starting to understand this new competitive reality and are starting to market more specifically to different segments. Others don't understand it yet and are struggling. I expect to see advertising and marketing messages continue to adapt to this new marketplace reality.

By Jeff Kagan

Jul 30, 2015 10:43 AM PT

We have just seen quarterly earnings reports from AT&T and Verizon, and they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also have started to grow once again. However, the larger wireless marketplace is splitting into smaller segments. Understanding this is one of many keys to success for any wireless carrier going forward.

The larger wireless marketplace is changing. It's being sliced up like a pie. Different players are competing in and winning different slices of the pie. Advertising and marketing will have to change to help each company win its own slice of the pie.

It seems customers who have chosen AT&T and Verizon still do prefer AT&T and Verizon. They are not losing business. In fact, they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also are winning new business. So where is that growth coming from?

Could it be coming from smaller carriers like US Cellular, C Spire Wireless, Tracfone and others? We'll have to keep our eyes on all players to gain a better understanding over the next few quarters.

3 Faces of Wireless

The wireless marketplace appears to be splitting into a few distinctly different segments.

Part 1 is AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. They offer wireless as part of a larger group of services like telephone, television, Internet, home security and home automation, and more. They are continuing to grow at a healthy rate. They attract the widest variety of customers, so they must continue to have a multifaceted approach to the market, both on the consumer and business sides.

Part 2 are the other wireless carriers, like Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, C Spire and more. These are wireless-only providers. Some of these companies are growing faster than others. They seem to attract different segments of the wireless marketplace.

Part 3 are the resellers or MVNOs, like Tracfone and the new Google Project Fi service. There are also VoIP technologies using wireless, like Vonage. There are others, like Republic Wireless, that prefer using WiFi connections rather than a traditional wireless network.

With all this change and activity, there are plenty of companies with new ideas. The services are often quite different. Some may be attractive only to one slice of the customer pie and not others.

Advertising and marketing will need a different focus going forward. It will be interesting to see how the marketing messages of each adapt to attract certain segments.

Slicing the Wireless Pie

There are many different ways to carve out a segment of the changing wireless world. Some companies are starting to understand this new competitive reality and are starting to market more specifically to different segments.

Others don't understand it yet and are struggling. I expect to see advertising and marketing messages continue to adapt to this new marketplace reality.

The larger competitors will continue to market to the entire wireless marketplace, but with different messages for each. Smaller or wireless-only competitors will start to focus on fewer slices of the pie with different messages to each as well.

Some companies will connect and succeed, while others will continue to struggle. We may also see some companies that have been struggling in recent years succeed -- if they can develop the right marketing messages and style.

Marketing and Advertising Are Key

Leadership in different segments may shift, so understanding the changing marketplace is key. Marketing and advertising will continue to play an incredibly important role in the growth of wireless. However, the kind of messaging may change as competitors focus on their slices of the pie.

Yesterday, the wireless marketplace was a large, generic place where every carrier competed with every other one for a larger market share. Today, it is becoming more segmented. Companies compete for and win different slices of a larger universe of customers.

These changes mean advertising and marketing will become more focused and more creative, so competitors can attract the customers to their most successful slices of the pie.

Wireless carriers who understand this shift stand the best chance of winning going forward. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/reputation-marketing-grows-business

Jeff Kagan: Reputation Marketing Grows Business

By Jeff Kagan

July 28, 2015 6:58AM   

Tickers Mentioned: GOOG MSFT YHOO FB LNKD TWTR ANGI IACI AMZN

How do companies grow? You may wonder if customer reviews on the web really matter. Yes they do, good or bad. Managing them is part of reputation marketing. So how do companies get and use good customer reviews? I was looking at Five Star Review System, which offers creative new ways to help companies do just that. While investigating, I also found an entire cottage industry.

Letís say youíve decided the web is a great place to find new business. However learning the best ways to find that new business is a challenge. Customer reviews are very important. However good customer reviews can help while bad reviews hurt.

This is a rapidly growing industry segment so itís important to start getting your feet wet now. Companies spend lots of time thinking through ways to look better online so they can attract new customers. Do you want your company to rank higher on search engines than competitors? If so, sharing good customer reviews is a great idea.

The next question is how do certain businesses win five star reviews and get new customers from search engines like Google (GOOG), Bing (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) and social sites like Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Twitter (TWTR)?

This is a new and often tricky space. Knowing the answer to this question can be the difference between simply having your business name listed in the phone book or having a full-page yellow page ad.

Businesses are always trying to get better at using the web to attract new customers and grow. However only a few actually do a great job. This need has created an entire cottage industry of help with reputation marketing.

Reputation Marketing

Thatís where companies like Five Star Review System enter the picture. They help companies build business by using the web in new ways. They help companies large and small, gather and use 5 Star Reviews from happy customers.

The next step is properly posting these reviews on search engines and on companies own web sites. If done right, this can help raise the profile of any company compared to the competition on the web.

The philosophy is simple: when customers search for a solution online, if they see many happy customers with positive feedback, they feel better about doing business. This marketing system helps businesses improve their customer reviews on search engines like Google.

Give Your Customers the Power to Rate You

Think about this like a customer review service. When a company has a good reputation with customers, they can win new customers this way. So give your customers the power to rate the service you provide.

There are plenty of businesses who do a great job with their customers. However most still need help marketing and spreading the word to win new business.

This is helpful for large and small businesses. It works with national or local operations in any area. It helps business show up on the top of page one on search engines using pre-selected search words. Plus is offers positive customer feedback.

There are many services in the market today, which help companies win new business. They are similar, but they are also very different. Services like TrustDale.com which investigates companies they recommend. Angies List (ANGI) and HomeAdvisor (IACI), and newcomers to the space like Amazon (AMZN) Home Services are all in different corners of this space. So businesses can use one or more than one of these services depending on their goals.

Based on what I see so far, I fully expect this space to rapidly grow over the next several years as new companies jump in, large and small. This is good news for competitors and customers because this service is needed to help businesses win new customers and to help customers find the right service provider.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          July 28, 2015 6:58AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/reputation-marketing-grows-business#sthash.FjlgtSWI.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150727/opinion/ctia-super-mobility-2015-kagan

Kagan: Judging the 2015 CTIA Awards

By Jeff Kagan  on July 27, 2015   Carriers, Opinion

Once again I would like to thank CTIA for inviting me to be a judge in their 2015 CTIA Awards. There are so many companiesĖlarge, small, new and oldĖwith so many innovative ideas. This yearís entries are exciting in their own slice of the pie. And the wireless industry is like a growing pie with lots of different slices. Letís take a closer look at some of those new ideas and whatís coming next in wireless.

Iíve been a wireless analyst for more than 25 years, so I grew up along with the wireless industry. It has been a rapidly growing and changing space. Every few years something big transforms the entire industry. So the annual CTIA Super Mobility 2015 show is a great place to take our temperature, see where we are today and what we can expect next.

I regularly hear from companies who want to punch there way onto the very noisy map. They update me on what they are doing, introduce me to their new technology and ask me how they can be heard. It is getting tougher to break through the noise since there is so much of it in the wireless industry.

One of many things I tell them is to become active with the CTIA and the annual show. This is a great way to be found and make a difference.

This yearís program has three categories:

Emerging Technology Awards: which are the most innovative in emerging mobile services, solutions and network technology?

Hot for the Holidays: which are the hottest mobile consumer electronics products and applications for this years holiday season?

The MobITS: which are the best mobile IT solutions of this year?

CTIA received hundreds of entries this year encompassing different technologies from different companies in different sectors of the industry. This shows the sheer amount of determination and manpower present in the wireless industry today. This is from many companies we know and many others we never heard of. These awards are about new technology that is not only important to users, but can often change the industry.

You may recognize that I regularly write about many of these companies and technologies. I also give interviews and talk about them. I always look forward to hearing about whatís new and whatís coming next. Technology and ideas that will change and enhance the wireless experience we all have.

Wireless Helps Business Grow

Wireless is blending with other industry segments like Internet, telephone, cable television and IPTV. Wireless also helps to transform many industries like healthcare, automotive and retail. Wireless improves the way we conduct business, sales operations, customer service and so on. Wireless makes it easier and in fact creates new ways to think about doing things. All that helps business grow and helps users transform their lives.

This is important for customers, industry workers, companies and investors. When we think of wireless, we generally think of the big brand name networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile US. Or perhaps smartphone makers like Apple iPhone, Google Android like Samsung Galaxy and many others.

However there are so many more companies that all participate in the smartphone and wireless revolution that are seldom known. Companies whose technology makes your smartphone work better. Non-wireless companies, which use the wireless networks or smartphones. All these different sectors, companies and technologies are at this years CTIA show.

Look at all the categories this year:

Accessories

Connected Car

Connected Home

Devices and Gadgets

Entertainment, Audio, Music and Video

Wearableís, Health, Fitness and Wellness

Mobile Applications, Development and Platforms

Mobile Customer Experience Management

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Enterprise Innovation

Mobile Security and Privacy

In-Building Wireless like small cells, Wi-Fi and LAN.

M2M, IoT, Sensors, RFID & NFC.

Mobile Cloud

Mobile Marketing and Advertising

Mobile Money, Payments, Banking and Commerce

Wide Area Network Ė Core

Wide Area Network Ė RAN

Wireless is the Center of the Universe Going Forward

There are countless companies behind each of these categories. And wireless is continuing to expand into other industries and technologies as well. Wireless is the center of the universe for the next generation of our society.

As you can see these are all interesting and important spaces in the wireless world to both consumers and business customers. Consumers generally are more interested in certain apps and features and business customers are interested in others.

Wallet, Keys and Smartphone

The smartphone is becoming as important a tool as our wallet or our keys for both our personal life and our business life. In fact today we never leave the house without our wallet, keys and smartphone. Tomorrow however weíll just have to grab the phone.

Increasingly it stores more personal and important information and we use it for more all the time. We use it as our credit cards, our insurance ID holder, it starts our cars and opens our doors, and it does more every day.

Of course all this excitement has its dark side as well. Problems like loss of privacy and loss of personal and private information when the phone becomes lost, stolen or broken.

All of this is what the CTIA show in Las Vegas will showcase. New ideas and solutions are all over the place at the show. Wandering the aisles and sitting in on the many announcements and briefings is a great place to get up to speed on wireless. Itís also a great place to wonder from booth to booth and see whatís coming next.

During the course of the year I always expect to hear from quite a few new and existing companies about their technology that can change the wireless world. Wireless is such an exciting and explosive growth oriented industry for everyone whether you are a worker, partner, executive, investor or customer. And the CTIA Super Mobility 2015 show is a great place to get the current lay of the land. Enjoy the show!

CTIA CTIA Super Mobility

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Can-Jet-Elevate-the-Shopping-Club-Experience-82300.html

ANALYST CORNER

Can Jet Elevate the Shopping Club Experience?

If you already go to warehouse clubs for low-priced deals, then Jet could be appealing. However, if you like walking through these stores to shop, you will miss that part of the experience. If you don't like having to pass through security on the way out or having to schlep tons of giant boxes home in your tiny trunk, then Jet may be a good solution.

By Jeff Kagan

Jul 23, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Jet launched this week, and it could be part of a growing trend. Many people love the club retail shopping idea of Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club. Jet is a new e-commerce player offering a similar shopping experience. Will the online model be successful?

The retail shopping club is one of America's success stories. Customers pay an annual fee to become members. The theory is they can shop and pay less than at traditional retail stores. The model has proved very successful, but it's not always a smooth ride.

The Exclusive Members-Only Experience

My wife and I are members of all three, and I have mixed feelings about the experience. First, only sometimes do these clubs offer discounts from the prices at the retail stores we otherwise shop at.

Then, when you buy anything, the product sizes are always larger. In fact, they're often so large you have to push a giant shopping cart, you have trouble squeezing the stuff in your car, and you need a warehouse in the basement to store it all.

The worst part is these stores treat customers like a criminal. After you pay, you must pass through an inspector at the exit door who checks your receipt against your purchases before you can leave.

It simply feels bad -- like they assume customers are thieves and treat everyone like cattle. Why is there no similar inspection at other retail stores in the U.S.? I like to joke with the inspectors and throw myself up against the wall, inviting them to frisk me. Think that makes my point?

There are no bags. You have to pile lots of stuff in the backseat and floor of your car, and then watch it fly around when you make a right on Maple Street.

Apart from these problems, everything is very pleasant and we continue to shop at these clubs like loyal customers. Translation: My wife loves them.

Can Jet Do Better?

That's the nutty world Jet is jumping into. That said, shopping clubs are a growing business segment. If Jet can provide customers with a better shopping experience, it may indeed be successful. Jet says customers who pay its membership fee will get 10- 15 percent discounts when they shop. Sounds familiar.

If you already go to warehouse clubs for low-priced deals, then Jet could be appealing. However, if you like walking through these stores to shop, you will miss that part of the experience. If you don't like having to pass through security on the way out or having to schlep tons of giant boxes home in your tiny trunk, then Jet may be a good solution.

It will be interesting to follow Jet. The big-name warehouse clubs already have a strong relationship with their customers. Plus, they already have an online store for customers to shop at -- so there is plenty of competition in the space.

How will Jet elevate itself above the competition? Will Jet win customers from the other club stores, or will it carve out its own niche in the growing warehouse marketplace?

Of course, if you are like me, this may just wind up being one more membership fee to pay in a growing list. Choose? Huh. We don't choose -- we join every stinking one of these clubs.

Paying a store to shop there? It's crazy, anyway you slice it. Maybe I'm wrong, though. It works for Costco, BJ's, Sam's Club -- and even Amazon, with its Prime membership.

Remember when stores used to try and win your business by treating you with respect and thanks, and offering low prices too? Remember when they tried to get you to come into their store versus their competitor's store? Ah, the good old days of American retail.  

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-why-ooma-ipo-belly-flopped

Jeff Kagan: Why Ooma IPO Belly Flopped

By Jeff Kagan

July 21, 2015 12:39PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ CTL CMCSA TWC CHTR VG RNG EGHT MITL

Ooma had its IPO last week and as we all know, things didnít go so well. Ooma ($OOMA) is a leader in the IP or VoIP space, so letís discuss the space in general, the problem, and Ooma in particular to see what went wrong and what the future may bring.

Internet Telephony or Voice Over Internet Protocol uses the Internet to send voice calls digitally. That is compared to the traditional telephone networks we have used for decades. IT or VoIP started in the 1990ís, but since quality was horrible, it took years to get good enough to be taken seriously. Today, VoIP technology boasts great quality if you choose the right provider, and there are plenty of good and bad quality services in the market.

There are also many IP providers, both large and small. Larger companies like telephone companies AT&T Inc. ($T), Verizon Communications Inc. ($VZ) and CenturyLink Inc. ($CTL). Also, cable television companies like Comcast Corporation ($CMCSA), Time Warner Cable ($TWC), Charter Communications, Inc. ($CHTR) and Cox.

There are also plenty of smaller, dedicated providers like Ooma, Vonage Holdings Corp ($VG), Skype, RingCentral Inc. ($RNG), 8x8, Inc. ($EGHT), Mitel Networks Inc. ($MITL), MagicJack and more. There can be a wide difference between companies like this. Quality is all over the map depending on a variety of factors including the speed and quality of your Internet connection.

In this larger VoIP or IT space, Ooma has great quality. This is compared to the other smaller providers and if you have a decent Internet connection in your home or office with regards to speed and quality.

VoIP Growth Changing Toward Business

VoIP growth has been robust over the last decade, but things seem to be slowing down on the consumer side. It looks like more growth going forward may come from the business side of the equation. Thatís why Vonage is expanding to and really trying to grow their business side of the house.

This has many wondering about the growth potential of this IP or VoIP space for smaller providers. I believe this space will continue to grow, however, the real growth may come from the larger providers who blend these services with other services in a larger bundle.

For example, you can by VoIP or IP services from the same telephone company or cable television company where you may also buy other services like television, high speed Internet, wireless services and so on.

Increasingly VoIP Growth Coming from Large Competitors

I see this VoIP space continuing to grow, but the rapid growth may come from larger providers compared to smaller providers. This may be similar to what we saw in the Internet Service Provider or ISP space.

In the 1990s, the leaders of this space were companies like AOL, Prodigy, Earthlink and Mindspring. Today leaders in this same space are larger companies like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox.

Investors may have shied away from the Ooma IPO because of the changing marketplace. The solution will be for the real leaders of this space, a group which I consider Ooma to belong in, to get loud and innovative.

How Ooma Can Continue to Lead

Ooma must break the rules and innovate like crazy. Then they must talk about it with a very loud and clear voice to let the marketplace know of their success, the growth of IP and the fact they are a leader in this space.

If they donít, the marketplace will pass them by as it has many others over time.

So the future of the IP and VoIP space is bright and full of growth on both the wire line and wireless world. However, rapid growth may shift more toward the business side of the equation. Plus growth may shift toward larger providers of other communications services.

With all that said, I do believe there is plenty of room for a very innovative and well run smaller company with a direct focus on VoIP and IP services to succeed. A company like Ooma may be just that kind of company.

What the future holds is the big question. No one knows. However much depends on what Ooma does going forward to break through the glass ceiling. Ooma can continue to grow and to lead in a slice of the IP pie. The question is...will they? Letís see if they can pull all the pieces together to make that dream a reality.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          July 21, 2015 12:39PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-why-ooma-ipo-belly-flopped#sthash.u7W3FfiR.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150720/opinion/us-cellular-kagan-recovery-begun

Kagan: Has a US Cellular recovery begun?

By Jeff Kagan  on July 20, 2015   Carriers, Network Infrastructure, Opinion

US Cellular has been struggling for growth in recent years. However, like the childhood story of Rip Van Winkle, they seem to be waking up after a very long nap and targeting AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. The question is, will 2015 be the start of a long-awaited recovery for the company? Letís take a closer look.

US Cellular is a regional wireless network, ranked number 5 after AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile USA. Their stalled growth story sounds similar to what we heard from Sprint and T-Mobile a few years ago. Just like these two companies restarted their growth engines, I believe US Cellular can do the same if they take a successful path.

Will they, is the question? They have been stuck in a loss mode for quite a long time, however they are starting to make some noise. As a wireless analyst I have followed all the companies in the wireless industry for decades. Iíve seen fortunes rise and fall on the network side and handset side.

While US Cellular has a long climb ahead, I do think they can grow if they do certain things well. However it will be a while before we know whether they are on a growth track or not. Either way itís good to see them waking up and starting to rev their engines once again.

Growth Depends on Success in Several Areas

There are several areas they need to be successful. One of those areas is their brand. Who is US Cellular? What place to they represent in the minds and hearts of the marketplace? They have a problem with their weakened brand today.

How would you describe them? Why would you buy from them? They need to create a meaningful brand that resonates with at least a slice of the marketplace. Then they need to stick their flag in the ground and build from that point.

Another area is improved messaging. That means marketing, advertising, social media and public relations. They must win at all the many ways to connect with the customer. They must create a vibrant image in the customers mind. They must stand out in an increasingly noisy marketplace.

Another is they must decide which slice of the customer pie they want to focus on first. Will they take a wide approach or will they target one slice of the pie? Companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint focus on the larger marketplace, but they do this by focusing on different slices of the pie in different ways. Other companies like T-Mobile focus on one slice, the rebellious youth and focus their marketing in that area.

Itís also very important for US Cellular to successfully communicate with various influential and important groups like analysts, media, investors, regulators and others. Bring them up to speed in a positive way. As an analyst, I hear from nearly every wireless carrier keeping me up to speed on every move they make. They want to make sure they tell their story. However I seldom hear from US Cellular. That weak link needs to be strengthened.

These are just a few examples, but I think you can see there are several areas that the company must improve on in order to improve and modernize their image and performance. This is a tough job, but itís not impossible. In fact we have seen two carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile do the same job in recent years. So it can be done.

If US Cellular wants to be heard in an increasingly noisy marketplace, they had better get a blow horn and start attracting positive attention. Before they do this they should obviously create a short and long-term strategy rather than just shooting from the hip. Plus they must make sure they are ready technically with speed, quality and coverage both in the network and customer care operations.

Then if they are fortunate enough to punch their way onto the map, the next step is to stay there. Winning can be achieved by every wireless player. Winning is something they must keep at continuously. Winning is a direction companies must continue to drive toward. Itís not a destination.

If winning companies donít keep feeding the fire, it will go out. The question is does US Cellular understand how important these areas are as different ingredients to their success? The most successful companies do.

So itís good to see them starting to make noise attracting customers to their services and trying to win business away from larger competitors. Will they be successful long term is always the question. Letís keep our eyes on them and see. I wish them success.

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile US Cellular Verizon Verizon Wireless

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About Author

Jeff Kagan

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Comcast-Needs-to-Do-More-Than-Stream-82279.html

ANALYST CORNER

Comcast Needs to Do More Than Stream

Customers have increasing choices for entertainment access. Seeing the changes that are coming, Comcast has been trying to get closer to its customers -- trying to stop the flow to the competition. While Stream is better than nothing, customers understand it's a business decision to keep them from saying goodbye, rather than an indication the company really cares about them. This sours the milk.

By Jeff Kagan

Jul 16, 2015 11:45 AM PT

Comcast -- and in fact, the entire cable television industry -- is going through a time of incredible change. Cable companies used to grow year after year because there was no competition. However, today they are losing market share, so to help plug the hole, Comcast just introduced Stream. Will it work?

Stream is a new subscription streaming service that offers Xfinity customers more choices for content consumption -- live TV programming viewable on laptops, tablets and smartphones, for example.

There's no way of knowing whether Stream will win for Comcast. It's an idea that seems to fit with the changes in the marketplace, but success comes from more than a simple idea. It comes from customer care, customer service, customer control, proper pricing and so on.

Success today comes from a great relationship with the customer -- having the customer love you, or at least like you. That is something that Comcast just does not have, due to its own behavior.

Comcast's Customer Problem

If Stream is a service customers can only add to their existing cable television and Internet plan, then it will not be very successful. However, if customers can sign up for Stream as a standalone product, it stands a better chance for success. However, Comcast tends to tie everything together.

I think Stream will be popular with a slice of the pie, but not with the whole shebang.

I like to see big companies stretch, and this Stream idea clearly stretches Comcast. However, I have my concerns. Over the years, Comcast has been the darling of Wall Street because of its growth -- but it ignored the customer.

That caused much resentment among customers, but they had no other choice. They were stuck -- which is why they have little or no connection to the company.

Customers increasingly do have choice, and this is like a kick in the shins to Comcast. Seeing the changes that are coming, Comcast has been trying to get closer to its customers -- trying to stop the flow to the competition.

While Stream is better than nothing, customers understand it's a business decision to keep them from saying goodbye, rather than an indication the company really cares about them. This sours the milk.

Comcast's Main Problem Is Comcast

History has shown that Comcast cares about the investor -- not the customer. Now that is coming around and biting the company on the rear end.

The cable television industry is going through a transformation. Innovations are trumping traditional services. Competition is coming from new areas and from companies that seem to care for their customers.

AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS are very successful in competing against Comcast. So is CenturyLink Prism, to a lesser extent. Plus, innovative players like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Hulu and more are eating away at Comcast's market share.

Internet vs. Cable TV

Comcast used to be primarily a cable television provider, but increasingly it is becoming an Internet service provider, or ISP, which also offers services like television through Xfinity and Stream.

Comcast Xfinity was introduced several years ago as an effort to expand the company's offerings and boost competition with new Internet offerings.

Several years ago, Comcast promised to improve its customer relationships.

In recent weeks, it seems to be making the same announcements. Apparently it has not yet accomplished its goals. That's key.

I hate to say this, because I would prefer to say Comcast is turning the corner and getting better. It still can, and I hope it does. Stream is a great idea in theory -- but unless Comcast starts to show its customers it really cares about them, it may have a hard time making it a hit.

I have a feeling it will come up short, but here's hoping I'm wrong. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/economic-data-news/jeff-kagan-amazon-com-prime-day-a-flop

Jeff Kagan: For Shoppers, Amazon.com Prime Day was a Flop

By Jeff Kagan

July 16, 2015 12:24PM   

Tickers Mentioned: WMT AMZN

Christmas in July has always been a retailers and customers dream. Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) tried it this week with Prime Day. Unfortunately, this first Amazon Prime Day was a flop for too many customers. But even though the dream turned into a nightmare for many, how did Amazom.com do?

It will be interesting to see what Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)  says about their experience to see their results. I have a feeling Christmas in July is coming, and these are very early days in the process. Hopefully that will mean it will get better for the shopper because while this first Prime Day was a great idea, it fell flat on itís face.

Prime Day Autopsy: What Went Wrong?

We have to look at Prime Day from several different perspectives. When I say Prime Day was a flop, I mean from the customer perspective, as so many complained loudly on social sites and in the media. This is not to say everyone had a problem. People who did get the limited sales items are likely delighted.

The problem today is Amazon.com is too large, too well known, has been around too long and has too many customers to screw up this badly. This is the kind of screw-up companies had in the 1990ís when Internet shopping was still young. This PR disaster would cripple other companies. However, with Amazon.com, I donít think this will be a long-term problem beyond the initial burst of customer complaints, which is overloading social media.

If any company keeps screwing up like this, it will have a long-term impact, even on Amazon.com. However, I think this one will pass, especially if Amazon gets better as time goes on.

Today, customers love Amazon.com too much, and they know Amazon.com loves them to, as much as any retailer can love a customer. Amazon is strong in the minds and hearts of the marketplace. This will buy the company the ability to let this be a close call and not a direct hit.

So I donít think this will have a long-term negative impact on the stock price or value to the customer in the marketplace unless it continues. I believe customers will complain, but will ultimately give Amazon a free pass on this screw-up. That said, there is a limit to customer goodwill.

Building a quality relationship with customers and investors is always a long-term process. Amazon.com may get investor complaints from time to time, but generally speaking, customers love them. Plus, they are continuing to roll out new technology and ideas to make shopping easier. Consider the apps on smartphones and tablets.

Amazon.com changed the book business, then the retail business, and now they are changing the entertainment business. This is a company that tries so many different ideas and wins with quite a few of them. They have a better track record than most competitors.

A Bad Day for Customers, A Good Day for Amazon?

Amazon.com has become a brand name that so many think of as a quick and easy way go get whatever they need. Prices are not a bargain like they used to be, but it does give customers a vast and easy shopping experience online.

It will be interesting to see what customers are looking for at this time of year. Unlike the holiday shopping season when we look for gifts, I get the strong sense that this time of year customers are shopping for themselves.

We donít yet know how successful Prime Day was for Amazon.com in terms of sales and new sign-ups for their Prime service. However, I am sure this was a big win for the company.

Letís hope the next Prime Day is betterÖmuch better.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

 

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          July 16, 2015 12:24PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/economic-data-news/jeff-kagan-amazon-com-prime-day-a-flop#sthash.RreEjujF.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150714/opinion/mobile-internet-dan-hesse

Kagan: Former Sprint CEO Dan Hesse on mobile Internet

By Jeff Kagan  

July 14, 2015   

Internet of Things (IoT), Opinion

The Mobile Internet presents a new wave of opportunities and challenges to the wireless industry. Dan Hesse, previous CEO of Sprint, shared his thoughts on the changing wireless industry and the mobile Internet in a Forbes article out today. I think his discussion of five important questions is something everyone should read.

The wireless future looks very different for the CEO, front line workers, customers and investors. Industry growth is in the early stages of a new path. Are you prepared? Is your company prepared? Thatís the challenge we must all understand. The world is changing quickly and if you are not riding this next wave, it will pass you buy.

I have known Dan Hesse for decades. I followed his career as CEO from AT&T Wireless, Terabeam, Embarq and most recently Sprint, and believe he is one of the most important thinkers in the industry. CEOís typically get distracted wrestling with quarterly earnings. Hesse has a clear understanding of what is coming and how to prepare.

Mobile Internet Opportunities and Challenges

Hesse and I had a conversation a few days ago and one of the topics we discussed was the changing wireless industry and the growth of the mobile Internet. I donít know how much time you spend thinking about this topic, but I would say if you want to be successful going forward you must understand the changes that are occurring which are reshaping the wireless industry and in fact every industry.

Everything will change thanks to wireless. Relationships with employees, customers, investors and partners will all change. That means we must change the business model as well.

Companies who are involved with this transformation now are the early adopters. They are the leaders who take the arrows, but they also steer the industry into this new direction. Eventually other companies will join the party simply because they have to compete. These are the followers.

That means while the early adopter takes the risks, they will also have the competitive advantage for a while, until everyone in the industry jumps in and it just becomes a cost of doing business. Over time, only some companies will do a great job with the mobile Internet and they will be the new leaders going forward. Others will struggle.

Leaders and Followers

While itís impossible to say who tomorrowsí winners will be at this early stage, it is important to start the ball rolling in your own company and your career. Itís also important to decide whether you and your company will be a leader or a follower.

However, whether you are a leader or a follower, itís important to have a good understanding of this new opportunity and challenge because it is coming. The rules of business and success will be very different a decade from now. The new pathways are being written right now.

When I speak at meetings, I have noticed there is a change over the last few years. A few years ago the mobile Internet was not on anyoneís mind. Today itís on everyoneís mind, but the vast majority of executives donít yet understand it and donít know the path to take.

Typically in every company the IT staff knows more than the CEO. While thatís expected, that disconnect is keeping too many companies from both advancing and leading in the mobile Internet, and properly protecting their current data and IT operations.

The Early Days in Mobile Internet Revolution

These are the early days in the mobile Internet revolution. Now is the time to get up to speed on changes and technologies and think of new and innovative ways to do business. And even think of new areas to grow going forward. This opportunity will transform every business in every industry.

Remember when business transforms, it happens quickly. As an example, remember a few short years ago Nokia and Blackberry lead in the handset space. Today leaders are Apple, Google and Samsung, sending the rest to the back of the line. This major transformation happened as soon as the iPhone and Android were introduced and changed the entire smartphone industry.

Everything Will Change

Hesse says things like wireless, the mobile Internet, the Internet of Things, or IoT, will touch everything in our lives. That means every product and every industry, new technology and old. It will impact and affect us in more ways than we can imagine today.

As you know I often write on this exact topic. How the way we learn, the way we work, the economy and more will all change. How this change will impact every industry like what we see happening today with automotive, healthcare, retail and more. How it will transform the way we do business with sales, communications and so on. There are incredible opportunities going forward.

There are also plenty of important challenges and potholes we need to look out for. Like loss of privacy and data theft. Both on an individual, company and government basis. We see this in the news every day.

Some threats we know about and some we donít. And we always find out about this after the damage is done. We are just in the very early days of many new threats, so new ways of thinking about security should be top of the agenda.

Personal and Company Challenge

Whether for business, home or government, there are plenty of opportunities and challenges ahead. However we cannot stop this train. So if thatís the case we had better get things right. Thatís our personal and company challenge today.

The next decade and beyond will remain in full throttle. Expect the wireless industry to continue to expand in the areas of security, IoT and the mobile Internet. And expect wireless and the mobile Internet to be incorporated into every other industry as well.

This presents to us a huge opportunity, challenge and threat. As all transformations do. Start a discussion in your company. Ready or not, the changes that are coming will transform life and business in industry after industry. However we must be prepared. Get the ball rolling. Are you prepared? Itís time to start a discussion.

IoT mobile internet Sprint

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Sprint-Gets-Up-Close-and-Personal-With-Direct-2-You-82260.html

ANALYSIS

Sprint Gets Up Close and Personal With Direct 2 You

With Direct 2 You, a Sprint service rep shows up at a place and time of the customer's choosing. The service representative walks the customer through the available options, sets up the phone and turns it on. The rep also helps the customer transfer everything from one phone to the other. That is a great idea for smartphone idiots -- I mean users -- like me. And there are plenty of us out there.

By Jeff Kagan

Jul 9, 2015 5:02 PM PT

Sprint's Direct 2 You program seems to be another home run in its recovery-and-expansion effort. It follows the success of Sprint's Cut Your Bill in Half plan over the last few months. Sprint seems to be getting the wind back in its sails.

Direct 2 You started out in Kansas City, Miami and Chicago. It is now in 28 cities and expanding rapidly. Sprint just announced its expansion into New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.

Detroit, Washington D.C., Tampa and Dallas will get it in July.

Sprint is the first carrier to experiment with making house calls to deliver new phones and help customers set them up, and Direct 2 You seems to be well received. The typical routine requires customers to travel to a store and often wait a long time for assistance.

With Direct 2 You, a Sprint service rep shows up at a place and time of the customer's choosing. There's no standing in line, and the service is calm and quiet -- no high-pressure pitches.

Let Sprint Do It

Sprint's service representative walks the customer through the available options, and when the customer has reached a decision, the rep sets up the phone and turns it on. The rep also helps the customer transfer everything from one phone to the other.

That is actually quite helpful to many people. Not me of course -- I can do it on my own. After all, when I recently upgraded my iPhone 5 to iPhone 6, I only did one wrong thing. Of course, that screwed it all up.

That meant the quick and easy transfer of information from one phone to the other didn't happen. A five-minute process ended up taking constant tweaking over several days. I know, I know.

Sprint service reps help customers avoid such chaos, walking them through the setup, which is a great idea for smartphone idiots -- I mean users -- like me. And there are plenty of us out there.

More, Please

Sprint customers have told me they've noticed a marked improvement in the quality of service and in their relationship with the company over the last year or so.

I don't know what Sprint has up it's sleeve for its next big marketing idea, but I think we can expect more along the lines of its Direct 2 You and Cut Your Bill in Half programs. They have been winners for Sprint, and I expect more of the same.

Sprint remains the No. 3 carrier, behind AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, and ahead of T-Mobile. National expansion of Direct 2 You will continue throughout 2015, according to Sprint.

So Sprint is finally waking up. I like the fire in the belly that I've been seeing at Sprint of late. Increasing its ability to grow is key for the company going forward. Moves like Direct 2 You show that it understands the challenge and is on the right path. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-microsoft-and-nokia-flop-what-s-next

Jeff Kagan: Microsoft and Nokia Flop, Whatís Next?

By Jeff Kagan 

July 9, 2015 8:30AM   

Tickers Mentioned: MSFT NOK GOOG AAPL BBRY

Did you ever find yourself along a busy street and see someone stepping into traffic trying to cross? Your first instinct it to yell, "STOP!" Well, thatís how I felt when Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) decided to acquire Nokia Corporation (NOK)  a few years ago. Sure, they needed to shake things up. In fact, they still do...but not like that.

Iíve been a wireless analyst for decades and have watched the industry go through changes. We have seen both networks and handset makers explode with growth over time. With that said not every company is a winner. There are plenty of companies who struggle.

Itís not that I am a gifted palm reader. Everyone who had followed the wireless industry for any reasonable length of time saw the writing on the wall. Nokia and BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY)  once lead, but now they struggle to follow as Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc. (GOOG) Android transformed the handset space.

So the weakened Microsoft thought that by acquiring the weakened Nokia they could somehow become an industry powerhouse? Excuse me, but what planet does that logic come from?

Microsoft obviously thought they could wave their magic wand over Nokia and transform the wireless handset space to their favor. Well, just as I said many times when it was happening - fat chance. While I hope for the best with Microsoft and Nokia, the ending of this movie was so foreseeable.

Apple iPhone and Google Android transformed the wireless handset business roughly seven years ago. Microsoft has been trying to succeed in the wireless space for more than a decade now.

With all that change going on, Microsoft simply has not succeeded in wireless. When will they learn the truthÖthey are not a wireless genius. However, this does not have to be the end of the story.

Future Microsoft Success from Windows 10

The best chance for Microsoft to ignite excitement and sales once again could be Microsoft 10. Iíve been hearing good things about this operating system. Windows 10 may be the first OS from Microsoft that will simply continue to update itself. If thats true, that would solve one of the biggest problems users have with MicrosoftÖupdates.

That means there is no need for buying and installing and getting used to new operating systems every few years. That would be a welcome change for individuals, companies and governments who dread upgrading to the next version of Windows.

Would you believe it if I told you there are still plenty of companies and governments still using Windows XP. Thatís right. Thatís the hell that Microsoft has put users through for generations cutting against the grain.

As for wireless, I think Microsoft may be better off forgetting about owning a slice of the wireless handset pie. I believe Windows 10 will also integrate wireless because thatís what users want. However Microsoft can be a player and get more market share with an app, which will work on any smartphone, rather than their own handset.

Microsoft Success Path

So Microsoft could be successful with Windows 10 and a wireless app. That is the direction they should be focusing on. That way, users can choose their favorite computer, tablet and smartphone and tie it all together with Windows 10 and apps. That way they can create content on any device and save it to the cloud. Problem solved.

Of course, as I say this, I understand Microsoft seems to be moving in the direction of selling their own hardware. So weíll just have to see what the company does as they do it going forward.

Nokia is Coming Back

With all this chaos we arenít paying much attention yet to the Nokia re-entry into the wireless marketplace. However Nokia is coming back. After the Microsoft acquisition we thought Nokia would fade into the sunset. However they arenít ready to give up the ship. They are moving back into the tablet business and next step will be the smartphone business.

Will Nokia be successful? It depends. Do they have a great handset that will attract lots of good attention from users and app makers? Do they have a deep understanding of the power of marketing, advertising and public relations? These are just some of the areas they flopped at after Apple and Google jumped in and transformed the space.

Good Luck to Microsoft and Nokia

So at this point all I have to say is good luck and success to both Microsoft and Nokia. We thought these two companies were joining, and in fact they did, but the belly flop could be heard around the world.

This is a second chance for both companies. For the sake of their workers, investors, partners and customers I hope they are both successful with Microsoft Windows 10 and Nokia N1 tablet and coming smartphone.

Perhaps with this increased level of competition, both Microsoft and Nokia will actually care about the end users. We can only hope.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-microsoft-and-nokia-flop-what-s-next#sthash.gc2JymsO.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150706/opinion/t-mobile-antics-backfire-kagan

Kagan: Will T-Mobile antics backfire?

By Jeff Kagan 

July 6, 2015   

Carriers, Opinion

I have a question for you: are the accusations and colorful language from T-Mobile US CEO John Legere ultimately helping or hurting his company and the industry? We can see pros and cons to this show, but there are definite areas where caution is needed. I would hope Legere wouldnít want to hurt his company or the entire industry long-term in order to make short-term gains.

T-Mobile Tearing Down Wireless Industry

Ever since Legere joined the struggling company a few years ago, he has been trying to shake things up. Actually tearing things down would be a better way to say it. T-Mobile was dying on the vine and his job was to resuscitate it. To create a strategy and punch their way back onto the map. While he has done that and thatís a good short-term result, long-term they seem to be polluting the water in the entire wireless industry. And that could be harmful to T-Mobile and many others as well.

Iíve been following Legere for some time. He did a great job with Global Crossing and is trying to do the same with T-Mobile. This is a more delicate balancing act however and he is taking a much heavier-handed approach this time. I wonder whether he really understands the longer-term damage he is causing to his industry with this strategy.

Legere has two choices. Either build T-Mobile and raise it to the level of the competitors or try and tear down AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint to his level. Unfortunately, he has spent the last several years taking shots at every competitor trying to bring them down to his level. Now he is trying to tell the fedearl government why small carriers should be treated more fairly then larger ones regarding allocation of spectrum.

T-Mobile is Not Like AT&T and Verizon

AT&T and Verizon are not like T-Mobile. T-Mobile is simply a wireless carrier. AT&T and Verizon are much larger and play in many more segments of the industry including wireless, telephone, Internet, television and much more.

Just look at what AT&T and Verizon have been doing lately. AT&T is investing in and building their new Mexican opportunity as well as trying to acquire DirecTV to expand that opportunity around the United States. Verizon recently acquired AOL and also partners with companies in the cable television industry.

Companies like AT&T and Verizon are big and bold and growing and continue to change the communications landscape. They are also very actively helping other industries go wireless like healthcare, automotive, banking, retail and many others.

On the other hand T-Mobile, while an important player in wireless, is simply wireless. They are a much smaller player. There is nothing wrong with being simply wireless. There are many competitors like them who are growing and building strong businesses.

However, for T-Mobile to complain about AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in order to attract more of their type customers is a shame. It makes T-Mobile look bad. And at the same time it makes their customers look bad. What they donít seem to understand is customers want to do business with a winner. And while T-Mobile has shown growth, their story is getting long in the tooth.

T-Mobile seems to be focused on the youth marketplace. They are improving the quality and reach of their coverage in some markets, but they still have a long way to go to catch up to the competitors. So their challenging language may attract more of the same kind of customer, however it makes them look bad the longer they continue on this path.

Concern for T-Mobile

In order to keep generating attention, they keep throwing gasoline on their tiny flame. Sure it raises a lot of stink each time it bursts, but it burns itself out quickly causing no lasting damage.

I am concerned for T-Mobile. They are a company with good people, good customers and good investors. I want to see them successfully competing in the wireless industry. In fact, I want every carrier to do well in the competitive wireless industry.

However I donít want to see any player crap on the track. Thatís not fair for any competitor, customer, investor or partner. Is it? When we were small, bad kids would be scolded and taken out of playtime. Is that really what John Legere wants us to think of T-Mobile?

T-Mobile Should Grow Rather Than Tear Down

Every carrier can do well focusing on different sectors. Thatís what T-Mobile should be focused on right now. Not trying to burn down the entire industry just so they can look successful. Rather they should be building themselves up to the level of their competitors.

There is plenty of business if you do business the right way and build rather than tear down.

I believe T-Mobile customers would like to be proud doing business with a winner. I also would like to be proud of T-Mobile performance rather than watching their insulting antics, which at this point can only bring harm to them and to the entire industry.

Even political candidates moderate their language when they eventually run for office. Perhaps this is a lesson T-Mobile can learn going forward. I hope so.

AT&T FCC Spectrum Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150701/opinion/kagan-who-is-the-best-at-wireless

Kagan: Who is the best at wireless?

By Jeff Kagan on July 1, 2015 Carriers, Opinion

Wireless carriers and handset makers spend fortunes on advertising, marketing and public relations to stay on top of the customersí minds. While that is an important cost of doing business, as a wireless analyst, the most often asked question I get from users is simple: what carrier and handset should they choose? Who will they be happiest with? The question is easy, but the answer is more complicated.

What I have found is that many carriers and handset makers are doing a better job than others they compete with. This translates into more sales and a better reputation. Some companies should do a better job at influencing the messaging about them and their products and services.

Wireless Carrier Choices

There are many carriers to choose from and the list keeps growing. Companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Celluar, C-Spire Wireless, Tracfone and others, plus newcomers like Google Project Fi.

With all that choice, finding the right wireless carrier for you is actually not that difficult. There are different factors you need to weigh. Remember the most important factor is connectivity and signal strength where you spend time.

The reason is simpleÖ if you have no signal, then you have no service. Period. With that said, the largest carriers may have the biggest network, most connections and most customers, but they may not be right for everyone. You have to find the best carrier for you!

After signal strength, if you are a heavy wireless data or app user, and if speed matters, different carriers offer different speeds in different locations. You may get 4G in one location and 2G in another. So make sure you get what you need where you spend time. Otherwise you may not be happy.

Carriers offer a variety of different plans, which can limit your speeds to save money. So make sure you get the connectivity and the speed you want for the right price.

Best and Top Ranked Wireless Carriers

I have scoured the web and reviewed quite a few reports for quality and speed and will now discuss what I found.

Generally speaking, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are the largest wireless carriers. They offer the most wireless connectivity points. Most of their customers consider them the best.

These carriers have the most customers, which says quite a bit for their reliability, speed and connectivity in most places nationwide. However, itís important to remember that one carrier may be stronger for you so check your signal strength and speed where you spend time.

Sprint and T-Mobile US have struggled over the last decade, but both are back on track and showing growth. Customers who use them and who have experienced problems yesterday are singing a different tune today. They say how both carriers are improving and the price is often lower than AT&T and Verizon.

The next question is will the growth from Sprint and T-Mobile come from larger or smaller competitors? Looking at the performance of carriers today, I would say it appears smaller carriers seem to be taking a pounding.

That means smaller wireless carriers like US Cellular, C-Spire Wireless and MVNOís like Tracfone seem to be impacted by this changing competitive environment right now. There have been stories about how AT&Tís move into Mexico is impacting Tracfone. And stories of Google Project Fi and other industry changes that are starting to impact smaller carriers at this time.

Carriers Must Sharpen Their Sword

With this kind of pressure growing, carriers must sharpen their sword. The fight is only going to intensify in coming years.

Today the top ranked carriers are AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and even Cricket Wireless, which is a pre-paid carrier owned by AT&T. These companies are very close to each other in rankings.

As strong as these players are today, there seems to be a growing distance between these top carriers and the others. Remember, for the user the difference between these companies will be the quality of connection. Even though, generally speaking, these are all strong competitors, each does have itís own strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

That means two different customers using the same carrier in the same city may have two different experiences. So find the best carrier for you.

Wireless spectrum strength may also start to impact the quality and speeds of carriers as the shortage continues.

As a private company, C-Spire does not make their performance numbers public like the larger competitors do. Even though C-Spire has done well in the past, if other smaller carriers are being impacted by the changing industry I can assume this is also having an impact on them as well. Especially since they donít have the kind of wireless spectrum available to encourage smartphone speed and growth.

Handset Choices

The choice of handsets should be easy. All you have to do is find the best handset for you. However everyone is different and there are quite a few choices to sort through. Some love the Apple iPhone while others prefer the Google Android operating system. There are differences between operating systems and the choice is always up to the user preferences.

There are so many brand names to consider including Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Nokia, Blackberry, HTC, Motorola, Xiaomi and many others. Plus more are jumping into this marketplace all the time like the rebirth of the stand-alone Nokia smartphone brand.

Many different handset makers use the Google Android operating system. They may look similar, but they act very differently. So spend time, talk with others about what they like and donít like about their handset maker. Then take your best shot and choose the right handset for you and your needs.

Donít be surprised if you change handsets after using them for a while during your search for the best operating system for you. However once you find a favorite you will likely stick with them with each upgrade cycle.

Conclusion

So as you can see the wireless industry is going through enormous change. Spectrum shortage will play an increasingly important role going forward. Every carrier needs more spectrum and, in order to provide good service to their customers, they all need more. However spectrum shortage will continue for years to come.

That could play an important role on whether smaller carriers can continue to compete in the smartphone space or whether they will be more limited to simply voice and text players. Yet larger players need spectrum as much as smaller players. There is no fair solution to date.

The many players in todayís wireless industry have several challenges, however they have been growing strong for years and I donít see that changing. Expect continued growth and change in the wireless marketplace.

When choosing the best wireless network and handset for you, just make sure you donít simply believe the best advertising slogan and put the network and handset to the test where you spend time. Thatís the best advice you will get on the topic.

Also keep your eyes open for sweeping industry changes that always seem to occur every few years. Now is the time for the next wave of change.

AT&T Google Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

About Author

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/comparing-at-t-verizon-centurylink

Jeff Kagan: Comparing AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink

By Jeff Kagan 

June 30, 2015 6:55AM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ CTL S TMUS DTV

Three companies, AT&T (T) , Verizon (VZ)  and CenturyLink (CTL) , which started out very similar to each other a decade ago, are becoming very different. Not only are these companies starting to take different growth paths going forward, but the way they communicate with the marketplace keeping analysts, investors and the media up to speed is very different as well. Let me share what I see.

As an Industry Analyst I have been watching the companies and industry and sharing my opinion for more than 25 years. Iíve become a familiar voice in a noisy industry. I take this honor and responsibility very seriously.

The vast majority of competitors in the wireless and wire line space have always reached out to me, making sure I understand their positioning and their thinking. As the industry expanded and changed, more companies from other sectors like Internet, television, VoIP and assorted communications technology continue to jump on the same wagon train.

Funny thing, the companies who reach out and communicate well with the marketplace always seem to be the companies who are the obvious leaders in their sectors. They not only keep innovating, but they keep leading.

Changes Over the Last Decade

Let me share some thoughts on three companies, which illustrate what I am saying. They started out very similar a decade ago, but they have been growing on different paths ever since.

Telecommunications has always been growing and changing, but a decade ago the telecom industry went through an enormous transformation. Many acquisitions changed the fabric of the industry. The seven regional baby bells merged into three. Long distance giants like AT&T and MCI were acquired by baby bells. Wireless continued to grow and consolidate as well. New industry segments were created. And that transformation is still occurring today.

Today, the three leaders in the wire line space are AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink. The four leaders in the wireless space are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint (S)  and T-Mobile (TMUS) . So letís take a look at the wire line side of the industry. This is both for the consumer and business side of the marketplace.

AT&T is the Industry Leader

Today, AT&T is the most innovative, aggressive and effective in terms of growth and transformation. They are first to market with many new industry-transforming ideas. Over the last decade they single handedly launched the iPhone and lead the transformation of the smartphone and app sector, which today leads the entire wireless industry.

Today AT&T is also actively investing in their new Mexican operation and getting ready for approval of their DirecTV (DTV)  acquisition. They are leading the way helping other industries go wireless, like automotive, healthcare, retail and more. These are just a few of many major transformational growth opportunities the company is focused on and there are always more.

Over the last decade, AT&T has done a great job of communicating with analysts, investors and the media on their changing direction and strategy. That makes it much easier to understand their direction, the industry direction and where they are in the process.

With all that said, AT&T is the industry leader with their open and growth oriented approach.

Verizon is a Fast Follower

Verizon has a similar story, however their blade seems to have dulled over the last few years. They are no longer a leader in the space like they were years ago. They would rather not change the industry dynamics. However when a changing industry begins to threaten them, they do step up.

Verizon is making growth moves like their recent AOL acquisition. Even so I would say Verizon is quieter and is no longer an industry leaders. Instead I would say they are a fast-follower. They react when they need to react, not to lead.

So I would say Verizon is in the middle of the pack when it comes to their ability to lead and communicate their vision with analysts, investors and the media.

They used to be much better and stronger. I hope they understand what I am saying and get back to doing things the way they always used to.

CenturyLink is Too Quiet

CenturyLink is the third baby bell and to tell you the truth, the mystery. I donít know as much about them as I do about AT&T and Verizon. Whatís interesting is, I always had great relationships with two of their acquisitions, Qwest and Embarq, which used to be Sprint local phone service. These were two local phone companies.

However once CenturyLink acquired them everything became very quiet. And quiet has hurt the company from a competitive and growth and point of view. They still approach the marketplace like it was twenty years ago. Back in the 1990ís local phone companies could be quiet and still grow. Thatís because they had no competition and their industry was not in transition.

That is no longer the case. Today there is plenty of competition winning in the marketplace. The industry is changing and it is critical for CenturyLink to be seen in that light.

Things have changed and CenturyLink needs to wake up before itís too late. Innovation and industry leadership are key. Good relationships with the analyst, investor and media community are key.

With all that said, CenturyLink may be waking up and starting to be more open. There are signs they are starting to understand the new rules of the game. They recently held an investor day and they will soon be holding an industry analyst day.

This sounds like a good first step, but there are so many more similar steps they must take. They must raise their profile with the entire analyst, media and investment community. They must focus on both the larger group and the smaller, more influential group of players as well.

Iíll be keeping my eyes open and hoping for the best.

Concluding Thoughts

The wire line, wireless, television, Internet and assorted communication companies continue to grow and to change over time. I wish every player success, however I know over time that every company performs on their own basis. There will be winners and losers. There always are. However the best result would be for all players to be winners to one extent or another.

Even when companies start out as a group of almost identical companies, over a decade they can become completely different. Thatís what is happening in telecom.

With that said, growth is possible for every company. I wish every company success going forward in their quest for growth as the industry continues to change. With that said, there are always some companies who understand and get it, and others who donít.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at  jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          June 30, 2015 6:55AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/comparing-at-t-verizon-centurylink#sthash.JYE5Jvx0.dpuf

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150625/opinion/kagan-will-the-new-nokia-succeed

Kagan: Will the new Nokia succeed?

By Jeff Kagan  on June 25, 2015   Carriers, Devices, Opinion

Nokia is getting ready to re-enter the smartphone race. This is going to be a very interesting story to watch. Will it succeed? Nokia and Blackberry once led the wireless handset and smartphone space. Then Apple iPhone and Google Android jumped in and quickly transformed the industry. So whatís new and different at Nokia that could make it successful this time around? What does it need to do?

After being acquired by Microsoft, we all thought Nokia was no longer in the wireless handset business. Apparently we were wrong. A few months ago the company introduced its new Google Android-based tablet the N1. Since then weíve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now it sounds like Nokia is getting ready to re-enter the handset space with a new smartphone.

Sure, I would like to see Nokia to succeed. In fact I would like to see all competitors succeed, including Microsoft, Blackberry, Motorola, HTC and many others. However, none of these competitors are seeing any meaningful success in the wireless smartphone space as of yet. Apple and Google have nearly 90%market share, with the remaining 10% or so split among other competitors.

After leading the handset marketplace for a long time, both Nokia and Blackberry quickly dropped from the No. 1 spot to single-digit market share. During the last several years Microsoft also has not been able to shake things up and grow the company, although it is still trying. The smartphone market is a tough cookie.

Advice from Kagan

So now that Nokia is planning to get back into the wireless handset business with smartphones and tablets, let me offer some advice to help it succeed in this perilous space.

One, the name of the company must be thought through and must be current. Will it remain Nokia? There are plenty of reasons both for and against. Everyone knows the Nokia brand, however, the brand that everyone knows is also older and tired. Itís based on yesterdayís handset world, not todayís smartphone environment.

Keeping the Nokia name will bring name recognition if the company can successfully update and refresh the brand. The customer should not think of the old Nokia when they hear the name, instead they should think of the new Nokia. That is one very important key.

Remember, AT&T did a good job of that when SBC acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular. Keeping the Nokia brand name could work if it is reinvented and youthenized.

Two, Nokia must come to the table with new technology, new thinking, a new operating system and lots of apps. Every bit of it must be brand spanking new. All the technology must work great and do something different from iPhone or Android to capture the attention of the marketplace Ė or at least in a new way that a segment of customers prefer.

Itís got to be more than different. Itís got to be compelling. The Nokia Lumia was not good enough. This has to be new and big and successful.

I believe the marketplace would support more than two brands, however the new brands must have a compelling reason. So a new and killer OS, hot features, lots of apps and a new brand are a must.

Three, Nokia must understand the new and different marketplace. It must be able to come at this market with a fever pitch attracting users and getting the analyst community and the media to love it and put their stamp of approval on it.

A great relationship with the analyst and media community is key. If they arenít behind the new Nokia, itís over before it begins.

If Nokia can indeed do these things and more, then it stands a chance. However, like I always say about other great smartphones, it takes much more than a good device. It takes an emotional connection with the customer. If the customer likes you or even loves you, then youíve got it made. However there are lots of other smartphones who have simply not broken out.

Second chance for Nokia

This is a chance for Nokia to start once again in the marketplace and reinvent itself. It was once the leader, but went into a cocoon when Apple and Google took over. Now Nokia is about ready to break out as either a beautiful butterfly or a plain old moth.

Weíll have to wait and see what happens next. Thereís no way to tell yet which way it will go. It all depends on how well Nokia does everything it needs to do. This is no time to be complacent, it is the time to break the old mold and recreate its brand image in the new marketplace.

I believe Nokia can get this right and can start to grow in the smartphone space if it does everything right and gets the world behind it.

However, this is a tall order Ė what I thought of all the other competitors who are still trying. Can Nokia do it? Weíll soon see. Good luck.

Apple BlackBerry Google Nokia

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Time-of-the-Season-for-Innovating-82215.html

ANALYSIS

Time of the Season for Innovating?

Focusing on innovation simply because of investor pressure is not a good idea. The focus should be on innovation to benefit the customers. Alternatively, focus on the workers, suggested Herb Kelleher, past CEO of Southwest Airlines, who had a good handle on this. Then they will focus on the customers. Then success will please the investors. This is something every CEO should embrace.

By Jeff Kagan

Jun 25, 2015 5:00 AM PT

Not all innovation is good. Let me illustrate with a few examples of how poor innovation can harm a company. Bad innovation can quickly cut down a brand that took years to build.

Generally speaking, innovation is good. Without innovation, we would still be driving a Model T and getting blocks of ice delivered to keep our refrigerator cool while sitting in our uncooled home listening to our radio.

Without innovation, we wouldn't have wireless access to the Web. In fact, we wouldn't even be using a wireless phone to make voice calls. We'd still be stuck to the phone on our kitchen wall.

Good innovation can be great. It's what drives us forward. It builds a company's brand and strengthens the customer relationship.

Not All Change Is Good

However, innovation is not always done well -- and bad innovation can harm a company's brand and customer relationships. That kind of innovation should never happen. There are plenty of examples. Things would have been much better if the companies just left things alone until they had a real improvement to roll out.

Many of the problems with bad innovation are caused by investors' expectations for constant growth. Private companies don't have the same investor pressure to continue to innovate and grow that public companies do.

Private companies take innovation in the proper perspective. They make changes only if they are in the customers' best interests and only if they truly advance their brand. They simply don't innovate until they get it right.

When companies are always trying to innovate to keep investors happy, quarter after quarter, they can cause serious damage to their brand and customer relationships.

So, focusing on innovation simply because of investor pressure is not a good idea. The focus should be on innovation to benefit the customers.

Alternatively, focus on the workers, suggested Herb Kelleher, past CEO of Southwest Airlines, who had a good handle on this. Then they will focus on the customers. Then success will please the investors. This philosophy grew Southwest Airlines into a powerful force in the airline industry.

This is something every CEO should embrace. However, time after time, I am amazed at how poorly many companies innovate.

Last week, I faced yet another example of something that should not be happening. I'll illustrate by telling you two different stories about similar clothing companies, Lands' End and L.L. Bean.

Lands' End's Innovation Problem

Lands' End is a great clothing company. It makes high-quality products that always fit well, work well and last well. However, things may be changing. Every year, I order a few fresh, new belts for the summer. I used to love Lands' End belts because they were colorful, elastic, and fit well with my shorts and summer pants.

I recently received an order I placed for this summer and tried on four new belts. Today, I sadly returned all of them. Why? Because they were not the same as the belts I previously purchased and loved.

The new belts didn't work well. They were thinner and stretched too much. That means they don't hold up your pants -- a real problem, if I do say so myself.

Last year's Lands' End belts are still in my closet, and they still work great. So I know it's not me. The only conclusion I can reach is that Lands' End changed its winning recipe. That was a mistake. When a company screws around with the special sauce, something always goes wrong.

Remember the New Coke story from 1985? That was a disaster. At least Coca Cola admitted its mistake, said it was sorry, and won back the hearts of its customers.

I emailed Lands' End a customer feedback letter. Let's see if the company makes any changes. I like Lands' End and want it to continue to succeed, but it must get back on track. There are too many competitors to choose from.

Lands' End vs. L.L.Bean

L.L.Bean is another clothing company that has built a strong brand relationship with its customers over the decades. It remains steady and keeps hitting the ball out of the park.

I regularly purchase from it, and I've never had a problem. Its clothes are always stylish, great quality and last forever.

Both Lands' End and L.L.Bean are great companies with strong customer care policies. I want both to continue to succeed. However, these days my brand involvement is stronger with L.L.Bean than Lands' End. Is that what Lands' End really wants?

No Innovation Is Better than Bad Innovation

Private companies don't have investor pressure, so they don't innovate just to keep investors happy. They only innovate to keep customers happy.

Companies that innovate poorly, depriving customers of last year's better model, are on the wrong track. It happens at more companies than you can imagine. It can be damaging to their growth going forward, unless they get back on track.

Plenty of companies have screwed up -- for example, Microsoft, with its Windows operating systems. Every other version is a hit, while every other version is a failure in the market's opinion. Yet Microsoft continues, because it faces no real competition.

Let's hope Lands' End gets the message, corrects the problem, and continues to grow and build its brand and customer relationships.

Lesson for Every CEO

This is an important lesson that every company should pay attention to, whether public or private. Every CEO should focus on quality and customer satisfaction -- not just on innovation to innovate.

Moral to this story: If you can't make things better for the customer, then you are better off doing nothing.   

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-internet-of-things-shows-rapid-growth

Jeff Kagan: AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) Shows Rapid Growth

By Jeff Kagan 

June 17, 2015 1:36PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ CTL S TMUS

The Internet of things (IoT) is one of the most rapidly growing spaces you may have never heard about. The Internet of Things has kept a relatively low profile during the last few years, however that may be changing. AT&T just announced they now have 22 million connected devices and we are just in the very early part of the first inning. IoT growth is accelerating and the numbers are getting quite impressive. It is one of the newest and fastest growing opportunities we have seen.

What is the Internet of Things? Itís what connects machines to each other and to companies behind the scenes to provide a much better and different user experience. We know about the Internet. Itís how we communicate, surf the web and use social networks. The Internet of Things works behind the scenes. In soime cases, we may not even know we are using it. Itís what links every machine and every company with every other machine and company, and also with the user.

Think of the IoT as the behind the scenes crew filming a hit movie. They are necessary, but you may not see a sign of them on film. IoT lets companies use the Internet to reach machines and let them communicate with each other, with headquarters, with other devices and with users instantly, from local to worldwide.

IoT is everywhere, yet we donít even realize we are using it. Itís how things will work going forward. Corporate leaders are jumping in now, and they are changing the way things work. That gives them a competitive advantage early on. Eventually, all companies will use the IoT or they will not be able to keep up. At that point, the competitive advantage changes to the simple cost of doing business. We will see a shakeout of companies who embrace the IoT and those who donít. I see many companies struggling and even failing if they are not on board, as the IoT grows and changes the user experience.

Things Are Changing

AT&T is one of the leaders in the IoT space. They announced signing Internet of Things agreements with more than 136 companies in different industries. These early adopters are the leaders in their industries. Add this to the 22 million IoT connected devices and you can see the opportunity. Industries these IoT devices are in include automotive, healthcare, security, energy, aviation, agriculture, transportation, supply chain logistics and more.

Ever wonder how your new car connects to the Internet while you are on the road providing enhanced information like traffic, weather, news and Internet access showing nearby restaurants and even making a reservation? Thatís just one example. IoT lets creative minds in every industry work with equipment makers and network providers to come up with new ideas and innovation. A few examples of IoT devices connected to the AT&T network are connected cars, connected health care devices, home security and automation, fitness devices, smart home, smart city, assorted business and consumer products and services and much more.

The IoT marketplace is one of the most exciting and fastest growing spaces for companies to innovate and investors to invest. There will be plenty of hits and plenty of misses. Fortunes will be won and lost depending on the segment and the company, but the entire space of equipment makers and network providers generally speaking will be rapidly growing. And every IoT device needs to connect so I think wire line and wireless networks like AT&T Inc. ($T), Verizon Communications Inc. ($VZ), CenturyLink Inc. ($CTL), Sprint Corp ($S), T-Mobile US ($TMUS) and more have an enormous growth opportunity ahead.

I believe the IoT space will continue its rapid growth and double or triple in size during the next few years. The IoT space is already worth trillions of dollars today. This IoT marketplace is very similar to the excitement we saw around the Internet late 1990ís. Except this time we have the knowledge and experience of the ups and downs this marketplace can produce. I donít think that will slow down investment, but the invested dollar will be more careful this time around.

A recent AT&T press release illustrates their rapid growth in this new IoT area.

ē Digital Life is already in 82 markets.

ē They expect to connect nearly 50% of all newly connected US passenger vehicles by the end of this year, 2015.

ē They connect more than 40% of the connected farm machines in the United States.

ē They connect more than 1.9 million fleet vehicles.

ē They connect 283,500 refrigerated shipping containers.

ē They have certified more than 2,200 different types of connected devices so far.

ē They offer a Global SIM that provides wireless connections around the world, in more than 200 countries and territories.

This growth is quite impressive. Especially when the vast majority of us know nothing about this IoT opportunity. That may be changing as this industry segment continues to grow. I believe it will start to be in news stories on a daily basis going forward.

IoT is a brand new space, but it is so rapidly growing and so transformative, it will change everything we know today very quickly. Keep watching the news and growth in this sector.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at  jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          June 17, 2015 1:36PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-internet-of-things-shows-rapid-growth#sthash.tW7zuRq2.dpuf

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-will-comcast-or-dish-acquire-t-mobile

Jeff Kagan: Will Comcast or Dish Acquire T-Mobile?

By Jeff Kagan

June 23, 2015 2:48PM   

Tickers Mentioned: TMUS DISH CMCSA TWC VZ T

Speculation abounds as we now hear there are two companies interested in acquiring T-Mobile USA ($TMUS). Rumors are Dish Network ($DISH) and Comcast ($CMCSA) are talking with Deutsche Telekom ($XETRA:DTE). We are still very early in the process so there may be more companies interested. However letís take a closer look at this from both the Dish and Comcast perspective.

Dish has a truckload of wireless spectrum they purchased, but they need a wireless connection to the customer to use it. Dish also has competitive pressure to deliver their signal wirelessly to keep up with the competition. So thatís why Dish both wants and needs a wireless addition to connect them to their customers.

Other large television providers already offer their TV signal both over a hardwire network and wirelessly. Comcast and Time Warner Cable ($TWC) currently connect with their customers through Verizon Wireless ($VZ).

If you recall, they do this as part of the deal where they sold their spectrum to Verizon Wireless a few years ago. Thatís when they tried and failed on their own in the wireless space. In fact the entire cable television industry tried and failed at wireless. Newer competitors like AT&T ($T) Uverse and Verizon FiOS deliver their TV signal over the Internet, both wire line and wireless using their AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless networks.

Rumor has it that Verizon may want to sell their FiOS television business. This makes no sense since competition is getting hotter and they will need every avenue for growth. Verizon should take a lesson from the mistake Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and others made in selling their spectrum. If Comcast does acquire Dish, Iím sure they would have loved to have the spectrum they sold to Verizon. But thatís water under the bridge. In fact, if Comcast does acquire T-Mobile, perhaps they wonít need to do business with Verizon Wireless any longer. If thatís the case this could be a big punch in the gut to Verizon.

Verizon Wireless is a much stronger, faster and larger network than T-Mobile, but Comcast has no control over them. And control as the wireless and broadband industry transforms itself, is a large piece of this puzzle. Thatís one reason Comcast would be interested.

Regulators May Stand Between a Comcast and T-Mobile Union

Regulators could be another potential roadblock to a Comcast, T-Mobile deal. When regulators said no to the Comcast, Time Warner Cable deal they said pointed to dominance in broadband space. Regulators were less concerned with the cable television space and more concerned with broadband. They wanted to make sure too much dominance in the broadband space was not under one company.

Regulators want more companies delivering broadband and competing. So while Comcast and T-Mobile are in two different industries, cable TV and wireless, they are both broadband players using wire line and wireless technology. That may cause regulators to say no to a Comcast, T-Mobile deal.

Either way, both Dish and Comcast could use a wireless network as the industry continues its transformation. Perhaps down the road a Comcast deal would be approved when there are lots of other wireless and wire line broadband choices. However, I would say the regulatory hurdle is too high for Comcast and T-Mobile today.

Either way, expect to see continued consolidation and transformation in the larger space that includes both wireless and wire line broadband and television. As the industry continues itís transformation over the next several years, we will see lotís of different companies making lotís of different moves. Some will be approved and others will not, but the debate will be extremely interesting to watch.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          June 23, 2015 2:48PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-will-comcast-or-dish-acquire-t-mobile#sthash.qrl2Gigs.dpuf

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-internet-of-things-shows-rapid-growth

Jeff Kagan: AT&T Internet of Things Shows Rapid Growth

By Jeff Kagan 

June 17, 2015 1:36PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T VZ CTL S TMUS

The Internet of things (IoT) is one of the most rapidly growing spaces you may have never heard about. The Internet of Things has kept a relatively low profile during the last few years, however that may be changing. AT&T just announced they now have 22 million connected devices and we are just in the very early part of the first inning. IoT growth is accelerating and the numbers are getting quite impressive. It is one of the newest and fastest growing opportunities we have seen.

What is the Internet of Things? Itís what connects machines to each other and to companies behind the scenes to provide a much better and different user experience. We know about the Internet. Itís how we communicate, surf the web and use social networks. The Internet of Things works behind the scenes. In soime cases, we may not even know we are using it. Itís what links every machine and every company with every other machine and company, and also with the user.

Think of the IoT as the behind the scenes crew filming a hit movie. They are necessary, but you may not see a sign of them on film. IoT lets companies use the Internet to reach machines and let them communicate with each other, with headquarters, with other devices and with users instantly, from local to worldwide.

IoT is everywhere, yet we donít even realize we are using it. Itís how things will work going forward. Corporate leaders are jumping in now, and they are changing the way things work. That gives them a competitive advantage early on. Eventually, all companies will use the IoT or they will not be able to keep up. At that point, the competitive advantage changes to the simple cost of doing business. We will see a shakeout of companies who embrace the IoT and those who donít. I see many companies struggling and even failing if they are not on board, as the IoT grows and changes the user experience.

Things Are Changing

AT&T is one of the leaders in the IoT space. They announced signing Internet of Things agreements with more than 136 companies in different industries. These early adopters are the leaders in their industries. Add this to the 22 million IoT connected devices and you can see the opportunity. Industries these IoT devices are in include automotive, healthcare, security, energy, aviation, agriculture, transportation, supply chain logistics and more.

Ever wonder how your new car connects to the Internet while you are on the road providing enhanced information like traffic, weather, news and Internet access showing nearby restaurants and even making a reservation? Thatís just one example. IoT lets creative minds in every industry work with equipment makers and network providers to come up with new ideas and innovation. A few examples of IoT devices connected to the AT&T network are connected cars, connected health care devices, home security and automation, fitness devices, smart home, smart city, assorted business and consumer products and services and much more.

The IoT marketplace is one of the most exciting and fastest growing spaces for companies to innovate and investors to invest. There will be plenty of hits and plenty of misses. Fortunes will be won and lost depending on the segment and the company, but the entire space of equipment makers and network providers generally speaking will be rapidly growing. And every IoT device needs to connect so I think wire line and wireless networks like AT&T Inc. ($T), Verizon Communications Inc. ($VZ), CenturyLink Inc. ($CTL), Sprint Corp ($S), T-Mobile US ($TMUS) and more have an enormous growth opportunity ahead.

I believe the IoT space will continue its rapid growth and double or triple in size during the next few years. The IoT space is already worth trillions of dollars today. This IoT marketplace is very similar to the excitement we saw around the Internet late 1990ís. Except this time we have the knowledge and experience of the ups and downs this marketplace can produce. I donít think that will slow down investment, but the invested dollar will be more careful this time around.

A recent AT&T press release illustrates their rapid growth in this new IoT area.

ē Digital Life is already in 82 markets.

ē They expect to connect nearly 50% of all newly connected US passenger vehicles by the end of this year, 2015.

ē They connect more than 40% of the connected farm machines in the United States.

ē They connect more than 1.9 million fleet vehicles.

ē They connect 283,500 refrigerated shipping containers.

ē They have certified more than 2,200 different types of connected devices so far.

ē They offer a Global SIM that provides wireless connections around the world, in more than 200 countries and territories.

This growth is quite impressive. Especially when the vast majority of us know nothing about this IoT opportunity. That may be changing as this industry segment continues to grow. I believe it will start to be in news stories on a daily basis going forward.

IoT is a brand new space, but it is so rapidly growing and so transformative, it will change everything we know today very quickly. Keep watching the news and growth in this sector.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at  jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          June 17, 2015 1:36PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-at-t-internet-of-things-shows-rapid-growth#sthash.tW7zuRq2.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Will-PayPal-Become-the-Next-BlackBerry-82187.html

ANALYSIS

Will PayPal Become the Next BlackBerry?

PayPal has a long history of success. It has a relatively strong brand name, but it needs updating to remain relevant. Strong brand names of yesterday -- BlackBerry and Nokia, for instance -- may find it difficult to remain current. So PayPay has a big job ahead. It takes no time for dramatic industry changes and shifts to occur. The company needs to update to continue to lead.

By Jeff Kagan

Jun 18, 2015 10:05 AM PT

Recently I had a problem with a purchase, which led me to ask an important question: Will PayPal become the next BlackBerry or Nokia? PayPal must update, or it will lose to new competitors like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, CurrentC and Square, whose intention is to reinvent the e-commerce and mobile payment space.

A recent purchase exposed one of the weak links in PayPal's chain. I was talking with an executive and decided to try the company's service. I provided my credit card number and expected the service would run it through the credit card company. However, it ran it through PayPal instead.

The charge was not the problem. The problem arose when I requested cancellation and a refund. The company was gracious enough to accommodate, but the refund never showed up on my credit card statement, which I regularly check. A credit card refund typically would take a day or two at most to process, but it still has not shown up -- and it has been more than 30 days.

In this case, PayPal is hurting the business, because customers who deal with this kind of delay feel less comfortable with the process.

PayPal's Weak Links

This is just one weak link that PayPal must fix if it is to survive as the marketplace changes. Remember how Apple's iPhone and Google's Android mobile operating system -- favored by Samsung, LG, HTC and others -- changed the entire smartphone business almost overnight a few short years ago?

That was when BlackBerry and Nokia were in the lead. Now BlackBerry is struggling with low single-digit market share. Nokia sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft, and the market is dominated by iPhones and Android smartphones.

PayPal was a great service when the Internet was young and consumers had no other choice. It gave us a way to do business with lots of small companies anywhere in the U.S., or in fact the world. It let small businesses start accepting credit cards. It was a new money system that let users without a credit card do business. PayPal was revolutionary.

Over the last decade or two, it has proved to be a success -- so consumers have been willing to put up with some burps and hiccups.

However things are suddenly changing around PayPal, and if it doesn't change, update and improve, I am afraid it will become less relevant going forward.

Competitors like Apple, Google, Square and many others are quickly transforming the mobile payment space, and they have strong and current brand success in the tech space. The opportunity is growing, and this is a great time for newcomers to enter and transform.

PayPal's Moment of Change

The media loves to focus on how newcomers with innovative ideas transform industry segments. This is the moment when past industry leaders either change and continue to lead in new ways, or don't change, don't update and ultimately fail.

PayPal has a long history of success. It has a relatively strong brand name, but it needs updating to remain relevant. Strong brand names of yesterday -- BlackBerry and Nokia, for instance -- may find it difficult to remain current.

So PayPay has a big job ahead. It takes no time for dramatic industry changes and shifts to occur. The company needs to update and continue to lead, or it will fade. Its growth wave, which had been on the upside for the last decade or two, has crested.

That means PayPal needs to create the next wave -- and quickly -- to continue to grow before it's too late. Time is of the essence. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150615/opinion/spectrum-shortage-problem-needs-solution

Kagan: Wireless spectrum shortage growing

By Jeff Kagan 

June 15, 2015  

Carriers, Opinion

A shortage of wireless spectrum is a real and growing problem the industry faces. If the crisis is not solved, this problem has the very real potential to interfere with the way we use smartphones on wireless networks. If we donít solve this problem, we may all pay the price with poor and slow service. Perhaps we are looking for a solution the wrong way.

There are a variety of solutions that could work. You can add your ideas to get the conversation going.

First itís important to put things in perspective. This is a new problem. Weíve only been wrestling with spectrum shortage for a few years. It all started with the success and growth of the Apple iPhone and Google Android-based phones like the Samsung Galaxy.

This problem is caused by rapid growth so itís a good problem to have, but it is still a problem. Spectrum shortage is simple, but the solution is not. We are running out of spectrum, yet the demand keeps rising.

That means every carrier, to remain competitive, is increasingly trying to grab as much spectrum as they can to keep up with growing demand. At the same time, the limited availability of spectrum could threaten every carrier, large and small, in the wireless industry for years to come.

Wireless Data Spectrum Shortage

Every time we use an app on our smartphone, we connect to the wireless data network via spectrum. Spectrum comprises the wireless channels we use to link our smartphone with the wireless data network. Itís the on ramp to the wireless Internet superhighway.

The problem is, while wireless spectrum is limited, our appetite for wireless connectivity through apps is huge and growing every day. Apps have grown from a few hundred seven years ago to more than a million today, and growing.

Another problem is there are numerous wireless competitors, large and small, all in need of more spectrum. And this need for more spectrum will continue to grow over time.

Thatís the real industry dilemma, which we face. There are solutions, but nothing the industry has embraced as a whole to date.

Phil Falcone LightSquared Solution Shot Down

You may recall Phil Falcone from a few years ago. Falcone saw this growing problem the wireless industry faced and came up with a solution. He acquired spectrum and started a company called LightSquared. Basically his plan was to make this spectrum available to wireless carriers who need it for their customers and to continue their growth.

While this would not solve the entire problem, it was a step in the right direction. The problem was the spectrum LightSquared owned bled signal to nearby bands. This interfered with the existing usage on those bands, which was a problem for another industry.

Bottomline, LightSquared failed. Not because there wasnít a need. There is an enormous need. The problem was the spectrum bands they acquired interfered with other bands.

Maybe this plan would have worked if they had other spectrum bands. Unfortunately, LightSquared could not swap or acquire new spectrum so the company started down the long path of dissolving itself. Remember, spectrum is limited.

This is too bad because the spectrum shortage problem that existed a few years ago is still with us today, and is getting worse.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the plan, we should be thankful to Phil Falcone for raising the flag and bringing attention to this area. This LightSquared story did elevate the growing problem every wireless user and every wireless carrier faces today. It helped put the problem on the front page so we are all aware of the need for a solution.

T-Mobile Trying to Corner Spectrum Market

Now John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, is taking center stage trying to change the focus of this growing industry-wide crisis. The reason is T-Mobile needs more spectrum. They got a late start and they need more as their highway gets clogged with users.

Access to more spectrum is what every network needs, large and small. Since T-Mobile needs more spectrum, that may be one reason they may want to merge with Dish Network. Dish needs a wireless arm and T-Mobile needs spectrum so they can help each other.

Legere is trying to make the case that smaller players like T-Mobile need spectrum more than larger players. T-Mobile USA says the limited spectrum we still have should go to smaller carriers like Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, C Spire and others.

While you have to hand it to Legere his bold attempt to corner the spectrum market for smaller players, it ignores the same needs for larger players. While smaller players need access to spectrum, so do larger carriers.

Today AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have the most customers in the United States. Between the two of them, they have more than 70% market share. If they donít get more spectrum, both the carrier and its customers will suffer. That canít be allowed to happen.

What we need is a solution that benefits all competitors, not just one side or one company.

Spectrum Solutions

So thank you to Phillip Falcone and John Legere for putting this important issue on the front burner.

However we still need a real, industry-wide solution for all players to get their hands on more capacity to properly take care of customers going forward. We need a solution that helps all players, not just some of them.

Every player needs the same thingÖ more spectrum to meet their growing needs. We must keep the process fair and make sure that all companies have what they need to continue to grow.

One solution may be letting companies merge. This would pool spectrum into fewer and larger companies and increase the ability for each to service their customers.

Another solution may be shared spectrum. Carriers would rather use their own spectrum bands. I understand. But what if we run out of spectrum to handle the growing load? We need to do something bold before itís too late.

Companies could still own the spectrum they currently have. However all spectrum could be pooled together and leased or rented to any carrier, large or small.

Companies could earn income from the leasing of their spectrum, plus every carrier would have equal access. That means no carrier would have an advantage or disadvantage. That means they could all compete on value, customer care and quality.

Your Ideas to Solve Spectrum Shortage

I am sure you have a few ideas of your own. Why donít we start a discussion with ideas and solutions to the growing wireless spectrum problem? Ideas that are fair to all players, large and small.

Letís pull the camera back and have a big picture discussion about the possibilities to solve this growing spectrum shortage crisis.

Letís hear your ideas!

Dish Network Spectrum T-Mobile Verizon

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About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/The-Changing-Faces-of-the-Wireless-Industry-82161.html

ANALYSIS

The Changing Faces of the Wireless Industry

A major wireless industry shift is under way, fueled by partnerships between wireless and wire line companies to offer converged services. Perhaps we will see standalone wireless carriers partner with landline telephone and cable television operators to tap that growth wave as well. Five years from today, the wireless industry will be bigger, it will be different, and it will involve convergence.

By Jeff Kagan

Jun 11, 2015 5:00 AM PT

There seem to be two distinct sectors forming in the wireless industry. One side is wireless as part of a bundle of services. The other is wireless as a standalone product. This is not a case of one side being a winner and the other a loser -- they're just different. That means how we measure and track companies on both sides may have to change.

Growth and change are affecting companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, TracFone and C Spire on the service side of the industry, as well as companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, Nokia and many others on the product side.

The Top Wireless Networks

Prior to the last few years, wireless was wireless. That is, every wireless carrier competed with every other wireless carrier for phone and data services. Standalone wireless companies like Sprint and T-Mobile US competed on a level playing ground with AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless.

That was yesterday. Today the industry is expanding, and it is changing. The rules for success seem to be changing as well.

AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, for example, no longer are limited to selling mobile phone service and wireless data. They are expanding to include other offerings, like television.

Historical Convergence and Transformation

AT&T and Verizon are not only cable-television competitors with their U-verse and FiOS services -- they are taking competition to an entirely new level. They are using their wireless networks to deliver TV programming to devices like smartphones and tablets, anyplace and at any time.

This convergence is a transformative event that will make history. It is disrupting the entire television industry and putting intense pressure on traditional cable television companies.

Most traditional cable television companies don't have the capability to enter this territory -- at least, not yet. Comcast Xfinity and Time Warner Cable do with their Verizon Wireless partnerships. Many others don't. AT&T and Verizon AT&T and Verizon are the two service providers that offer full bundles of services. They offer wireless, telephone, Internet, television, home security and automation, and much more.

Yesterday they kept these sectors as separate businesses rather than combining services. Tomorrow they will be blending and integrating these services to enhance their value and continue to grow.

This is part of the growth opportunity we see with these two companies.

Sprint and T-Mobile

Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, C Spire, Tracfone and others are straight wireless plays. Companies like Sprint and T-Mobile have done a remarkable job over the last year or two reinventing themselves and showing growth for the first time in years. Other wireless carriers are struggling.

However, if Sprint and T-Mobile are showing growth, that proves there is plenty of growth ahead for companies that take the right path.

Comparing Competitors

There is plenty of room for growth in the wireless industry, and this is true both for full service and for standalone players. However, growth may be different for each side.

It may no longer make sense to compare these players on the same basis. Since they focus on different market segments, perhaps they should be compared differently.

The marketplace consists of many different slices of pie. Some are business customers, some are consumers. Some want an integrated package of services, and they may prefer an AT&T or Verizon solution. Others may want a wireless-only package of services, and they may prefer Sprint or T-Mobile.

The wireless industry is fluid and has undergone transformation several times in the last few decades.

The last major shift began eight years ago with the unveiling of Apple's iPhone. That was soon followed by the introduction of smartphones running Google's Android operating system. That's when consumers started using vast quantities of wireless data. That's when the number of apps began growing from a few hundred to today's millions.

Next Major Wireless Shift

Another major industry shift is already under way, fueled by partnerships between wireless and wire line companies to offer converged services.

Perhaps we will see standalone wireless carriers partner with landline telephone and cable television operators to tap that growth wave as well.

We really don't know what the wireless industry will look like five years from today. However, it will be bigger, it will be different, and it will involve convergence -- although convergence means different things to different companies.

These are exciting times in wireless. The future looks good for every player. However, as history has shown us, that does not guarantee every player will succeed.

It will be interesting to watch which companies grab the ring and which don't. We may need to change the way we evaluate the success of companies if they're not all playing the same game.

Your thoughts? 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150609/carriers/charter-communications-go-wireless

Kagan: Will Charter Communications go wireless?

By Jeff Kagan on June 9, 2015 Carriers

I bet the next big play after the announcement last week that Charter Communication is merging with Time Warner Cable will be going wireless. This has not been discussed yet, but I firmly believe it must happen. All of pay TV is going wireless and Wi-Fi. Going forward every cable TV and IPTV provider must give users a way to get coverage wherever they are on whatever device they are using.

Without wireless, customers can only watch from home. That is too limiting. Thatís a competitive disadvantage. So just like every other cable television and IPTV company, I believe Charter Communications will go wireless. The only questions are how and with whom? Who will they either partner with or acquire?

Convergence is the key

Take a look at the television industry over the last few decades: It has been a stand-alone product. Going forward television is part of a larger bundle also including telephone, Internet, home automation, security, wireless phone service and much more. To start they are just bundled together, but they will also start to converge and work together.

We used to deal with separate companies in each sector. Going forward weíll be able to use one company for all these services.

In addition to being part of this larger bundle, television needs wireless to deliver itís programming to the user on their smartphones and tablets, wherever they are. Increasingly we watch TV from wherever we are, and not just from home any longer.

Simply put, wireless is starting out as a competitive advantage for the television providers that offer it, but it will turn into part of the core offering for all players going forward. At that time the companies who donít offer a wireless option will lose.

Thatís why Charter Communications will go wireless. Itís the same reason Dish Network has acquired so much wireless spectrum and now wants to merge with T-Mobile USA. And itís part of the reason AT&T wants to merge with DirecTV.

Satellite television companies need this kind of wireless connectivity to remain competitive with all the new competition. Think of this as the next step in the evolution of the industry.

AT&T does not need Dish for the same reason, but this does present an enormous new growth opportunity on a nationwide scale.

Telecom continues to grow and change

The telecommunications industry has grown and changed so much over the last few decades. We used to deal with separate companies for each service. Convergence means we will only have to choose one company for all our services. In some cases we can do that right now.

If this sounds a lot like the old days when AT&T from decades earlier provided local and long distance, you are right. That was back in the days before MCI and Sprint and the seven baby bells. We spent the last several decades reinventing and rebuilding the entire industry.

The problem back then was there was just one company. Today, while we are coming back to a time when we get all services from a single company, the big difference today is we have a choice of a growing number of big companies.

Example, today we can choose either the telephone company like AT&T or Verizon, or the cable television company like Comcast, Time Warner or Charter Communications. And there are a growing number of these corporate giants to choose among for this super bundle of services. This is great news for the consumer who can choose based on quality, innovation and price.

This is also great news for the innovative industry leaders who will continue to thrive.

This however is not good news for the companies who donít have great quality and donít have great relationships with their customers.

Companies who are preparing can be the big winners. Those who donít will be the big losers. There will be both.

Today I would say the customer is much happier with their telephone and wireless carrier. I would also say they are generally less happy with their cable television providers. This is spelled out by surveys, several times every year. The most recent survey was announced last week by ACSI.

That means as companies like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Sprint and T-Mobile offer more services and have happy customers, they will continue to win. The reason is customers like them and the way they are treated.

That also means cable television companies like Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox and others will continue to struggle until they take better care of the customer. They never had competition so they never took care of the customer. Now that is biting them.

All these companies and more can and will continue to transform the marketplace and challenge each other going forward. This is just what consumers and business customers want to hear.

These are the reasons why almost all television providers will be offering TV signal wirelessly and through Wi-Fi. Letís watch the industry, the leaders, the followers and those who donít embrace this new idea.

Letís imagine what innovation tomorrow will bring when all these actually blend and start to work together. That will be the next exciting chapter of this story.

 

Charter Communications DirecTV Dish Network T-Mobile Time Warner Cable

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Jeff Kagan  Website

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-tv-is-going-wireless

Jeff Kagan: TV is Going Wireless

By Jeff Kagan 

June 8, 2015 2:18PM   

Tickers Mentioned: T DTV DISH TMUS NFLX AMZN CMCSA TWC CHTR CVC VZ CTL

The two mergers between AT&T Inc. ($T) and DirecTV ($DTV), Dish Network Corp ($DISH) and T-Mobile US ($TMUS) could transform and blend the satellite television and wireless space. Why? The reason is simple. Television is going wireless. The television industry is changing, so letís take a look at what it will look like going forward.

The television industry has been changing for years. First there was cable TV. Then satellite TV. Then IPTV from the phone companies. Then a variety of new competitors like Netflix, Inc. ($NFLX), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Hulu and more will come.

The next big wave of change is television going wireless. What that means is you will be able to watch television on your smartphone and tablet, from any place, the same as you do on your home TV set. You can watch plenty on your wireless devices now, already. The signal is delivered wirelessly or through Wi-Fi. This is brand new, and will transform the television industry over the next few years. It will also transform part of the wireless industry. In fact, it has already begun, and this transformation, while necessary for the TV industry, is another growth story for the wireless industry.

This is big news for television viewers, television service providers, wireless carriers, partners and investors of course. It will also be the path to innovation - new services that we canít even think of today.

Pull the Camera Back

Letís pull the camera back and take a wider view of the changes that are transforming this industry. Cable TV has been growing for decades. They have not treated the customer well, and if there was competition, they would have not done well. However, since there was no competition, they grew.

Now, as competition grows in the television space, companies like Comcast Corporation ($CMCSA), Time Warner Cable Inc. ($TWC), Charter Communications Inc. ($CHTR), Cox, Cablevision Systems Corporation ($CVC) and others are losing customers. Their market share is shrinking.

Customers are going to new players like IPTV from the phone companies. AT&T Uverse, Verizon FiOS ($VZ), CenturyLink Prism ($CTL) are three players really winning the competitive battle with the cable industry. And companies like AT&T with Uverse have been winning quality and service awards.

That is one wave of change that is transforming the television industry. A second wave of change is providing new services like letting the customer get their television signal over the wireless network on their smartphone and tablet. This is new and will continue to grow. There will be other waves of change as well, but first things first.

Pay TV Reinventing Itself

Pay TV is an industry that is reshaping itself. Yesterday, we used to come home at a certain time, sit on our couch and watch TV in our living room. However, television is changing. Increasingly we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, and on whatever device we want.

Traditional television is not going away, but this additional way of watching television is rapidly growing. Today, we canít watch everything over the wireless networks yet, but we are getting there. AT&T Uverse and Verizon FiOS, are cable television competitors using IPTV, which offers wireless connectivity as well. This means they can deliver television signal over the Internet or over their AT&T Mobility or Verizon Wireless network. CenturyLink does not operate a wireless network.

Traditional cable television companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable partner with Verizon Wireless as their wireless network. Thatís how they can deliver their wireless television. Perhaps if Charter successfully mergers with Time Warner Cable, their next step will be wireless for the same reasons. I would say that should be tops on the list of things to do. So, one way or another, every television provider must have a wireless play going forward.

The Wireless Television Race is On

However, the satellite television industry doesnít have a wireless network from which to carry their television signal. Thatís why the two satellite television companies need to merge with companies who can give them that wireless access.

The AT&T and DirecTV merger was announced last year and should be approved relatively soon. Once that is approved, I think chances are good the new Dish Network and T-Mobile will likely also be approved as well. Dish and T-Mobile have not been officially announced yet. This merger would allow AT&T to offer television service nationwide. Currently, they offer Uverse in-region only. This would also help DirecTV start to grow rapidly once again by having a necessary wireless option.

I think DirecTV and Dish Networks need these mergers more than AT&T and T-Mobile. This is an enormous growth opportunity for AT&T and T-Mobile, but it is a matter of survival and growth for DirecTV and Dish Network.

A New Growth Wave is Forming

TV is going wireless. We can soon expect new thinking, ideas and innovation to continue to transform this industry, which is exciting for everyone. That means the companies, the customers and the investors. However, not every company will be successful. Some ideas will be a hit while others will miss. But remember, we are on the young, growth side of this new wave. Now is the time to jump on and start your engines. Some companies are jumping in. Others are taking a slower path. Some will be leaders, while others will be followers. We will have to watch who jumps in over the next few quarters. That will tell the real story of what this industry will look like going forward. One way or another, television and wireless are merging, and this could be the start of some very exciting growth times to come.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          June 8, 2015 2:18PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-tv-is-going-wireless#sthash.cTCLMPFe.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Catching-the-Next-VoIP-Growth-Wave-82137.html

ANALYSIS

Catching the Next VoIP Growth Wave

VoIP has been on the consumer side of the growth wave over the last decade or two. Now it is changing focus to the business side. Business is an entirely new and potentially huge opportunity for this segment in both the wire line and wireless space, but it won't fuel growth forever. It's important for every provider of VoIP services to create the next wave to continue the company's growth.

By Jeff Kagan

Jun 4, 2015 10:15 AM PT

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, started out being a very low-quality and clunky way to make free calls using an Internet-connected computer. As it has evolved, most of its growth has been on the consumer side, but that is now slowing. Growth is starting to come from the business side. So, what will the VoIP industry look like going forward?

To predict the future of VoIP, look at the ISP business. In the 1990s, small companies started at kitchen tables grew in size and importance to become Internet service providers. In the early days, AOL, Prodigy, MindSpring and EarthLink led the way into this new industry.

They were the first companies in the ISP space and saw strong growth for a while. Then the telephone companies and cable television companies got into the same business and basically cut the legs out from under that new sector. The model changed. New leaders took over.

A Heaping Buffet of Choices

Today, both business customers and consumers enjoy a variety of provider choices. However with all the choice that's out there, most get Internet service either from their local telephone company or their cable television company -- companies like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cox.

Wireless Internet also is becoming a growth engine in this sector with companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

Even though VoIP is changing, we will continue to see advertising and marketing from providers like Vonage and Magic Jack. However, their growth rates and paths are changing -- and their focus should, as well.

Consumer growth rates for VoIP are lower than ever. At the same time, there are more choices than ever for making phone calls. Wireless is a huge transformational technology that is changing everyone's way of keeping in touch. This is putting enormous pressure on the VoIP industry, especially as wireless phone call prices continue to drop.

Going forward, wireless will offer multiple ways to make a voice call including VoIP app services over WiFi connections. Some new wireless carriers, like Republic Wireless, focus on this new way to use the wireless network to offer a VoIP connection.

They start out trying to make a phone call over a WiFi connection. When there is no WiFi nearby, calls are routed over the Sprint network.

If successful, a variety of players may offer this type of combination service in the coming years.

This is the transition the VoIP industry is going through.

Keep Making Waves

We are increasingly using smartphones like Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy, which runs Google's Android OS, to make phone calls, send text messages and email, use social sites, surf the Web and so on.

That's one key reason the traditional VoIP sector is getting softer. Traditional telephone is shrinking as well. We can make calls in a wide variety of ways today -- through wireless services, VoIP from cable television companies, and old-fashioned telephone company wire line services as well.

As the Internet expands, and as more services -- both wireless and wire line -- become available, VoIP may continue to nibble around the edges and grow. It is already much larger and more important than it was a decade ago. The question is, how important will this sector become?

Every industry rides a growth wave. Is VoIP on the growth side of the wave, the cresting side or the falling side?

Innovation changes everything, time after time. Will VoIP grow to become an important part of the change wave going forward, or will it remain a niche sector?

VoIP has been on the consumer side of the growth wave over the last decade or two. Now it is changing focus to the business side. Business is an entirely new and potentially huge opportunity for this segment in both the wire line and wireless space, but business won't stay on the growth side forever. It's important for every provider of VoIP services to create the next wave to continue the company's growth.

My advice to VoIP executives is to keep your sales and marketing strong. However, you must also keep reinventing yourself. Create the next growth wave -- and then the one after that. Then you will keep growing, while your competitors fall off the growth track. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-improving-the-customer-experience

Jeff Kagan: Improving the Customer Experience

By Jeff Kagan

June 2, 2015 7:01AM   

Tickers Mentioned: ORCL DIS CMCSA TWC CHTR CVC T VZ

At the Oracle Customer Experience Conference in Las Vegas in March, CEO Mark Hurd spoke to attendees with a simple message. So many companies go out of business thanks to a poor customer relationship. His comments got me thinking. Question, will your company be a winner or loser in the next few years?

How will you keep up in order to succeed? This is one of the most important questions and challenges facing every CEO today. Competition changes. The customer experience changes. Customer care changes. Customer expectations and demands change.

Leading this change wave is one of the key factors on whether a company will be successful or fail. A few do a great job at customer care and customer service. Most stink.

I have written about this as a problem area for years. I have given countless examples. About a companies lack of concern for building a long-term relationship with the customer.

Why do most companies think the customer will continue to do business with them even when they have poor customer care and a bad relationship?

Bad stories like an LA Fitness membership, which I thought was cancelled, but which continued for years. When I contacted them, and they could see there was no usage for years, however they still did nothing. They were not concerned with customer care. So when the time came to join a health club once again, I didnít join LA Fitness. Is that the result they really want?

Compare that to a good story like the magical stays at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island (SNSTP). They always made us feel like part of the family and treated us like gold. So we kept coming back year after year for more than 20 years. Doesnít that sound more like a long-term success?

There are countless other stories, and I am sure you have your own, but as you can see by the comparison, the way you treat your customer matters to your long-term growth and success. Which way does your company do business?

Thatís the question every company needs to ask itself. The challenge and the opportunity every company needs to face. There are two parts to this customer care puzzle. One is technology and the other is personal care.

Oracle (ORCL) and other companies can help with the technology, which is one key. The other key is more personal. After all customer care is simply taking care of your customer. People taking care of people. Thatís the key. Technology is important and it can help, but two people connecting at that key moment, makes the difference.

Outstanding customer experience like that found at certain establishments like the Ritz-Carlton hotel group go above and beyond. They are outstanding. They say they are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentleman. Doesnít that say it all?

Every employee at the Ritz or Disney (DIS)  or many other companies go above and beyond and make customers feel like Kings and Queens. That keeps them coming back for more. And thatís the whole point.

There are different slices in every pie. The marketplace is different depending on the slice you are talking about. There is a difference between a Walmart (WMT)  customer and a Ritz-Cartlon guest.

However both customers appreciate customer care, customer service and a good customer relationship, in different ways. Both must be won over in their own way. Every customer should be appreciated and should know they are.

The problem is, in the vast majority of businesses, the customer is not appreciated like they should be. Consider the cable television industry. Good customer care is almost non-existent compared with other industries.

Cable TV never had to care because the customer had no other choice. Where were they going to go? However increasingly the customer does have choice for service from other companies. And many customers are making that choice away from the cable television industry.

Cable TV like Comcast (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Cox, Charter (CHTR)  and Cablevision (CVC)  are losing cable television subscribers to newcomers like AT&T Uverse (T)  and Verizon FiOS (VZ) . These companies provide high quality service over the Internet using IPTV rater than the traditional cable television network.

In fact while Comcast Xfinity recently announced their effort to reinvent its customer care program, again, AT&T Uverse is winning awards for quality, reliability and customer care. Thatís why customers are moving away from cable TV.

Taking proper care of your customers is key to growth and survival. So let me ask you a question. How is your company doing with customer care and customer service? If you are like most companies, you struggle. This must be improved if you want to stay in business, grow and win.

Or perhaps you already work for one of the winners. In that case, congratulations. If thatís you, I am sure your company takes good care of you just like they take good care of your customers. And in the end, that success keeps investors happy as well.

So thanks to the Oracle Customer Experience Conference for highlighting this important issue for the business community going forward. The difference between good and bad when it comes to customer care.

If every company focuses on improving customer care then we hopefully will take one giant step forward and many more companies will stay in growth mode for many years to come. Thatís sure better than the alternative isnít it!

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow   June 2, 2015 7:01AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-improving-the-customer-experience#sthash.5Jk12q3A.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150601/opinion/paypal-threat-and-opportunity-tag9

Kagan: PayPal threat and opportunity

By Jeff Kagan  on June 1, 2015  

Can PayPal compete against Apple, Google, Android and other mobile commerce platforms?

The online and wireless payment space is growing, changing and maturing and that is threatening existing leaders like PayPal. How will new competition from entrants like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Android Pay, Google Pay, Samsung LoopPay, CurrentC, Square, Stripe and many others change this aspect of mobile and how will PayPal defend itís position?

As an industry analyst, I will be following this evolving and exciting e-pay and digital wallet space. If we pull the camera back and look at this from a longer term, historical perspective, we see that wireless is a growing and important part of this whole picture.

Dan Schulman is taking over as the PayPal chief executive as it breaks away from eBay at a time of great challenge and opportunity for the company. PayPal started in 1998 as an online venture, but is now expanding to wireless with smartphones. Thatís great, but so are many other digital wallets, and many of them have big brand names.

This online payment space is only a couple decades old, but it has gone through enormous change and pressure during that time. However, through it all, PayPal has always been a leader in this space.

But the challenge and opportunity today is greater than ever. It is changing and new competitors are threatening to rewrite the rules and the leadership just like they have done in the past.

An example: remember when BlackBerry and Nokia were wireless handset leaders just eight years ago? At that time no one would have thought they could have quickly dropped off the face of the leadership charts. However, Apple iPhone and Google Android changed the space virtually overnight. Today they lead as the first two struggle.

That is the same threat and opportunity PayPal faces today. Today PayPal is strong. However the space is rapidly changing with lots of big, brand name companies trying to be the new king of the hill. They have lotís of new ideas and new tech and the race has begun.

PayPal Challenge

If PayPal continues down the same path without making changes, I believe the growth wave will quickly pass them by. In fact, even if PayPal just makes moderate changes, the growth wave may still pass them by if others are more innovative and attractive.

What PayPal needs to do it reinvent themselves and the entire space in an effort to remain growing and important is to hang onto the leadership position. They must grasp new opportunities and deal with challenges. They must refresh and expand their brand, their technology and the relationship with the customer and merchants. They must keep doing what they now do and keep expanding and transforming themselves and the larger space.

This can be done. It will be interesting to watch it develop over the next few quarters. This is the challenge and opportunity PayPal faces going forward. The entire space is ready to be quickly transformed. Who will do it is the question. Several successful brand name competitors are getting ready to do just that.

Several of these new competitors also manufacture hot smartphones like the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and more. Other competitors are not wireless handset makers, but financial institutions, with new ideas.

With all these competitors, PayPal must prepare for anything. Bottom line, there is a threat from heavy hitter, big names entering and threatening to rewrite the entire online and wireless payment space. They are in a take no prisoners war to reshape the entire industry, and to lead.

There are so many questions. Will customers use several mobile wallets or just one? Will stores gear up to take payments from multiple players or just a few? Will one company really catch on early and quickly transform the space or will this be a more gradual shift from the old to the new?

These are just some of the questions we are asking right now. One big question is how will PayPal transform themselves and the industry? And will they still be the leader five years from now?

Thatís the challenge and the opportunity PayPal and every challenger faces. This space will continue to grow. And there are no guarantees of success with any of the new players. However, they do have strong brand names and the media loves to write about all their innovations. Plus they have every intention of transforming the space.

I believe this space will go through significant changes pretty quickly over the next few years. During that time of confusion, media attention is key. Users have to understand the changing space and all the competitors.

One problem is PayPal does not seem to get the same level of media attention and that could be a weak link the company needs to strengthen. It can be done. Just look at T-Mobile US as an example over the last two years. They have grown dramatically in recent years from nothing. Will PayPal do the same?

The mobile money segment is going to get a whole lot noisier going forward. New entrants and innovative ideas are going to transform the space. The leadership and change in this space will be very interesting to follow.

But who will lead? I will be following and writing about this exciting new area and look forward to keeping you updated on what I learn. Buckle up, because this is going to be one heck of a horse race.

RCR Wireless News columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst and consultant. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. E-mail him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

About Author

Jeff Kagan

Wireless Analyst and consultant Jeff Kagan is an RCR Wireless News columnist. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com. Follow him at Twitter @jeffkagan

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Charter-TWC-Approval-May-Not-Be-Enough-to-Revitalize-Cable-82105.html

ANALYSIS

Charter, TWC Approval May Not Be Enough to Revitalize Cable

The Charter, TWC deal will create a stronger company, but every competitor in cable television seems to be losing business to new players like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Netflix, Amazon.com, Hulu and other innovators. The innovation will continue, going forward. That means the threat to traditional cable television will continue -- so cable television either has to update or its days are numbered.

By Jeff Kagan

May 28, 2015 9:29 AM PT

Will the Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable merger be approved? Comcast and Time Warner Cable decided to merge last year, but that deal eventually was blocked by regulators. After it fell apart last month, we all wondered what big deal might be next. Now we know. So will the Charter, TWC deal be approved?

It's way too early in the process to know for sure one way or the other. However, based on what we know so far, I believe this deal is very likely to meet regulators' approval. In fact it could happen pretty quickly.

Patience often is rewarded. Just ask John Malone, chairman of Charter investor Liberty Media. Malone, who sits on Charter's board of directors, has been patiently waiting for the Comcast deal to fall apart. When it did, he saw his chance to turn Charter into a much larger and much stronger competitor in the cable television space.

Stronger Second

What's the difference between these two mergers? Comcast is already No. 1 in cable television. It also owns NBC. Its Xfinity service is competitive with AT&T's U-verse, Verizon's FiOS and CenturyLink's Prism. The phone companies' IPTV is actually hitting it out of the park for innovation and quality.

The problem is their services are available only in a limited number of cities. Someday, when IPTV is offered to a wider audience, a merger between companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable might actually be approvable. However, we are not there today -- that's why that deal was blocked.

On the other hand, a merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable is quite approvable. The companies will not claim the top spot, even after merging. However the deal will create a much larger and stronger No. 2 player.

This is much like what happened in the wireless industry over the last decade or two. After years of acquisitions, the two largest competitors today are AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. However, as strong as these two are, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, C Spire, Tracfone, and others are still competing. Even Google is entering this space.

Cable Industry Could Collapse

The traditional cable television industry is under significant competitive threat for the first time in its history. It never faced this kind of industry-wide transformation before. And because cable companies never focused on taking care of their customers, they are now at significant risk of losing them.

The Charter, TWC deal will create a stronger company, but every competitor in cable television seems to be losing business to new players like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Netflix, Amazon.com, Hulu and other innovators.

The innovation will continue, going forward. That means the threat to traditional cable television will continue -- so cable television either has to update or its days are numbered.

That's why we see Comcast Xfinity. We must see the same innovation from every cable television company going forward or the sector will continue to shrink. That is something I'm sure all cable companies want to avoid. However, we have not really seen Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision or others updating as aggressively as Comcast.

There will be quite a bit of investigation and analysis to do in order to determine whether Charter and TWC should be approved, but at this point I would say the deal is approvable -- and, in fact, it could happen quickly. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150528/opinion/kagan-winners-in-wireless-networks-tag9

Kagan: Winners in wireless networks

By Jeff Kagan, Wireless, Telecom Industry Analyst   

May 28, 2015   

Analyst Angle, Opinion

If we asked who the winners were in wireless on the handset side eight years ago, we would have said BlackBerry and Nokia. Todayís leaders are Apple iPhone and Google Android on phones like the Samsung Galaxy. The wireless world completely changed over the last few years. So what can we expect on the network side going forward?

Things change quickly on both the handset side and the network side. Yesterdayís leaders are now struggling for survival. While Apple, Google and Samsung have roughly 90% market share, all the others squeeze into the last 10%. Today the next largest is Microsoft Nokia, which only has single digit market share. BlackBerry has roughly 1% from what I hear.

Changes at the networks

With that kind of transformational change going on with handsets, letís consider the networks.

Networks have gone through as much chaos and change as well. Ten years ago the competitors were AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile US. They were all going through changes and challenges, but they were all competing well in the 2G, pre app world.

Then over the next few years things started to change. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless continue to grow to 3G then LTE, while Sprint and T-Mobile US didnít. That meant two competitors were rapidly growing while the other two were not.

Now the wireless world is changing once again. Growth will come from new and different areas. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are still on the right track, but now it seems so are Sprint and T-Mobile US. What that means is all four are growing, but in different ways.

Whatís important to remember is there is a split forming in the industry. Both AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are on one side of this split. They offer a variety of wireless and wireline services. On the other side is Sprint and T-Mobile US, which are straight wireless plays.

So what changes can we expect going forward with wireless networks? Letís take a closer look at these top four carriers.

AT&T master brand

Ten years ago AT&T was changing. They were regrouping after the enormous acquisition campaign it just went through putting AT&T, SBC, BellSouth and Cingular under one master brand.

To AT&T the master brand philosophy was an incredibly important part of their growth strategy. They had several different companies in several different business areas, which took years to successfully blend under the master brand. These categoriesí are wireless, wire line, television, Internet and more.

Then roughly eight years ago AT&T won the first and exclusive Apple iPhone contract that set them apart from their competitors. Year after year AT&T had this incredible competitive advantage being the only competitor with the iPhone. This propelled them with rapid growth.

This set them apart from and even above their competitors for years. Several years later when the iPhone spread to every other competitor, AT&T lost that exclusivity and many thought they would be hurt. However AT&T has only kept growing. They have potentially the lowest churn rate among all competitors. So the naysayers were wrong.

I think AT&T will continue to grow the same way, in different areas going forward. They are the most aggressive at expansion compared to the others, moving into many new business sectors. We have seen them grow their telephone business to wireless, television with U-verse, Internet and more.

Now they are moving into many new areas for growth going forward. Areas like home automation and security, helping other industries bring wireless into their products like automotive, healthcare, retail and much more. They are also expanding into Mexico and into nationwide television with the pending DirecTV merger.

So going forward, AT&T will remain a leader, driving the industry in new directions. They continue to show strong growth in traditional and new areas, which will expand who they are going forward. This is great news for AT&T, their workers, customers, partners and investors.

Verizon also growing strong

During the last several years, while they have not been as aggressive, Verizon Communications has been growing strong on the wireless side and on the wireline side, just like AT&T. However Verizon is not first with market opportunities.

Verizon is a follower, not a leader. They follow the direction others in the industry create.

However, while they are not a leader, they are still successful and a strong competitor. They are actively moving growing in areas like wireless, telephone, television with FiOS and the Internet.

They are not as aggressively moving into new business segments like AT&T is doing, however I believe Verizon will continue to follow AT&T and continue to show growth. They just are not the locomotive of this train.

Sprint is waking up

The No. 3 wireless player, which got off track several years ago with the Nextel Communications acquisition, has finally begun to awaken. They have spent the last few years upgrading their network and now offer the best quality and speed in a growing number of markets nationwide.

They still have a way to go, but they seem to be catching the growth wave, which is very good to see. Their speed and quality and reach are all improving on a regular basis.

Sprint is under new leadership and they are still rebuilding, but they are making real progress. Their recent sales programs like ďCut Your Bill In HalfĒ have been successful and I look forward to following them as they continue to re-emerge onto the marketplace.

T-Mobile US recovery

The T-Mobile US recovery has been another remarkable victory for a competitor who was failing just a few short years ago. Their speeds were slow and their quality and reach was terrible. They were failing.

Then the new CEO came in and started to change everything about T-Mobile US. These changes meant T-Mobile US would either sink or swim. Bottom line, they are swimming.

T-Mobile US has been recovering over the last two years and look like they will continue to do just that.

However the question is how long can T-Mobile US stay on this track. Executives at T-Mobile US owner Deutsche Telekom have complained that the current track is losing money and cannot be kept up on an ongoing basis.

Because of that and other things, the question regarding T-Mobile US keeping up this level of success is in question.

However for now, T-Mobile US is winning with the youth community and they are improving the quality of their network in many markets nationwide. Rebuilding takes time and money. So to rebuild its helpful if you are winning customers.

T-Mobile US seems like they are now on the growth side of the wave once again. Thatís good. It will be interesting to see how long they can keep up this pace, and what happens next at the company.

Bottom line

The bottom line is simple. The wireless industry in the United States is stronger than ever and is regularly changing. It changes every few years. The last major shift was to the iPhone and Android. The next major shift has begun and the growth tracks of the four big wireless players are all similar, but very different.

AT&T and Verizon are a combined wireless and wireline company and Sprint and T-Mobile US are wireless only. There are plenty of growth opportunities on both sides and all four players are now in the growth mode.

However we may have to consider judging the two sides differently going forward. Just a thought. So the state of growth in wireless is strong and expanding. Stay tuned.

RCR Wireless News columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst and consultant. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. E-mail him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

Photo copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo

4G AT&T AT&T Mobility LTE Sprint T-Mobile US Verizon Communications Verizon Wireless

 

 

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-can-dan-schulman-grow-paypal

Jeff Kagan: Can Dan Schulman Grow PayPal?

By Jeff Kagan 

May 27, 2015 6:58AM   

Tickers Mentioned: EBAY AAPL GOOG SSNNF BBRY NOK 

The countdown has begun. PayPal is about to launch on a new growth path and Dan Schulman is strapped in as the companies new CEO and pilot. So what is the future for the larger e-commerce payment and mobile wallet space? And what is the future for PayPal in that space?

PayPal is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay (EBAY) . The answer to the question is simple. There is no answer to the question. Not yet. While I firmly believe in this is a rapidly growing space, there is no way yet to tell who the leaders will be going forward or what technologies will be introduced in coming years.

Leadership in this rapidly growing and changing space will come from companies who successfully recreate the entire brand experience going forward. PayPal has led in the past, but going forward there are lots of big, brand name competitors stepping up so competition will be intense going forward.

PayPal Done Great Job To Date

PayPal was one of the original companies, which started this entire space. That history will help them going forward, but history is a double-edged sword. It can mean strength, but it can also hold a company back. Nothing stays the same. Everything either moves forward or falls back.

Ecommerce and the mobile wallet have suddenly begun to rapidly moving forward over recent years. All of a sudden there are many big, brand names that are expected to grow and change rapidly in this space.

The new mobile wallet space includes players like Apple Pay (AAPL) , Google Wallet (GOOG) , Samsung LoopPay (SSNNF) , CurrentC, BitCoin and many more which will enter the scene in coming years. In fact we are just in the very early days of this new mobile wallet revolution.

This space may have been with us for the last decade or two, but these companies are reinventing the idea of mobile pay and ecommerce. PayPal may have been there from the beginning, but they now face new and intense competition from these companies and ideas.

PayPal Must Update Their Image and Brand

That means PayPal must update their image and brand in the marketplace. They must lead with innovation going forward. They cannot sit still or this new world will pass them by and leave them behind in the dust.

So who will lead? Right now I would say newcomers are getting the lions share of media attention. Thatís one of the immediate challenges for PayPal. Media attention is one key to leadership and success.

Industry leadership can change in an instant. Remember when Blackberry (BBRY)  and Nokia (NOK)  led the wireless handset space? Today they are struggling while Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy now lead the space.

Companies either grow or shrink. They never stay the same. So PayPal needs to continue to innovate, update and grow. They face new challengers every day.

Thatís the challenge PayPal is facing right now. They need to refresh, update and expand their brand and offerings. The brand is the relationship with the customer. This is one of the most important keys to success going forward.

To win going forward, PayPal must be at the core of the new innovative explosion. They must lead. Thatís the challenge and the opportunity for new CEO Dan Schulman.

The Dan Schulman Challenge

Look at this challenge the same as otherís we have seen in recent years. Example, AT&T (T) had a similar challenge a decade ago when SBC acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular. The new AT&T is a brand new, strong, innovative and growing leader. They did it right.

While PayPal has a strong brand in this space, the marketplace is changing. The question is will they successfully reinvent themselves fortomorrow? Will they be like AT&T or like Blackberry?

Dan Schulman is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I believe he is one of the most talented executives as well. He may be just what PayPal needs at this point in time. He has lead many companies such as Virgin Mobile under Richard Branson before it was acquired by Sprint. He has worked with Symantec and American Express.

What Schulman and PayPal do next will make or break their future. The challenge is real, but so are the opportunities. He has been in the fire and I believe he understands this new challenge. Vision and execution is what is now required.

So I want to say congratulations and success to Dan Schulman and PayPal. We are watching closely and hoping you hit a home run in this growing and changing space. Batter up!

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

 

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          May 27, 2015 6:58AM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-can-dan-schulman-grow-paypal#sthash.aYCg1bEI.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Smartphones-Cant-Be-Trusted-to-Run-Our-Lives-82086.html

ANALYSIS

Smartphones Can't Be Trusted to Run Our Lives

If we drop our keys, we can still use them to start our car or open our house, right? If we drop our wallet, we can still pick it up and use everything inside, right? However when anything happens to our delicate smartphone, we are out of luck! And this is the device we are trusting with all our vital information and ability to get into our home or cars? Are we crazy! So what's the solution?

By Jeff Kagan

May 21, 2015 10:11 AM PT

There is so much buzz around the smartphone becoming the remote control for our lives. Enough already! While the promise is enticing, there is a dark side to this story that is never talked about. After reading this, see if you are still convinced.

Don't get me wrong -- I am as excited as everyone else around the future potential for the smartphone. However, something happened to me last week that slapped me in the face and snapped me back to reality.

We've all read the stories about using exciting smartphone apps to let us control everything in our lives. We can lock or unlock our house doors. We can open or close the garage doors. We can arm or disarm our security system. We can turn lights on and off -- all from the smartphone we keep in our pocket.

We can use our smartphone apps to lock and unlock the car doors -- and to start the car, or just turn it on and let it warm up on a cold winter morning from the comfort of our home. We can store our auto insurance card and, someday, our driver's license. We can store credit card information and pay by swiping the smartphone over an electronic reader at the counter.

Today we don't leave the house without our keys, our wallet and our smartphone, but tomorrow the phone is all we'll have to remember.

As compelling as that future sounds, there is dark side to this story. The smartphone is simply too delicate today to be trusted with all these very important parts of our lives.

Stuff Happens

Smartphones are not sturdy. Many things can and do happen that make the smartphone unusable -- and when the smartphone is unusable, so are all these amazing features and apps. The smartphone can go from an amazing remote control to a useless paperweight in the blink of an eye.

In fact, that's what happens countless times, every single day, to users from coast-to-coast in the U.S. and worldwide. That's why handset makers and wireless networks sell insurance for these devices. Insurance makes fixing or replacing a smartphone more affordable, but it does not solve the other problems.

When the phone stops working, we are disconnected from our world. That's the problem.

Last week I lightly dropped my iPhone and it stopped working. Period. End of story. Unusable.

I could not make a call or use an app. I was instantly disconnected from the world. I could not send an email or text, start my car, open my house, use my credit cards or anything else.

I can't begin to explain how isolated I felt. You would never understand unless you had a problem with your smartphone yourself. It's very uncomfortable.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s. I knew life without wireless phones. It was no problem. Now, when my smartphone stops working all of a sudden, I feel like a flounder out of water, flopping on a deck.

Dropping a phone is not the only hazard. Phones get stolen all the time. Phones get left behind. The battery runs out. They get wet, or for any one of a million reasons, they simply stop working.

That's right -- no phone lives forever. If you are lucky, you will never have to deal with this. However too many of us are not that lucky.

Don't Hold Your Breath

If we drop our keys, we can still use them to start our car or open our house, right? If we drop our wallet, we can still pick it up and use everything inside, right?

However when anything happens to our delicate smartphone, we are out of luck! And this is the device we are trusting with all our vital information and ability to get into our home or cars? Are we crazy!

So what's the solution? There are many, but they are not happening yet, so we are all still at risk. Smartphone makers like Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC and countless others should be making their devices bulletproof. Why aren't they?

This is a handset problem -- not a network problem. So networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile cannot fix this problem, since they have no control over the handset.

Smartphone makers should be making them shock resistant and water resistant. They should give users a way to track them and find them if they are lost, or shut them off if they are stolen. Carriers and handset makers should think of ways to make the time you are cut off shorter and phone replacement easier.

Bottom line -- smartphones and apps are the future. We can use them as a remote control for our lives. However, if we are actually to trust these devices with our important information, they have to live up to the challenge. Today, they don't.

All the excitement has overwhelmed us -- but the smartphone hardware simply is not ready to take on responsibility for so much of our lives. Not yet, anyway -- and I have a feeling it will be years before it is. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/altice-enters-us-cable-tv-market

Jeff Kagan: Altice Enters US Cable TV Market

By Jeff Kagan

May 20, 2015 1:03PM   

Tickers Mentioned: TWC CMCSA CVC T VZ CTL NFLX AMZN

Get used to a new name in the cable television industry, Altice. This European company has decided to stick its toes in the US cable television marketplace by acquiring Suddenlink Communications. This is yet another sign of a major shakeup that is occurring in the cable TV industry. In fact speculation says they may be interested in Time Warner Cable (TWC)  as well. So what does TV look like going forward?

The US cable television industry has changed and has seen many acquisitions over the last several decades. In the 1990ís, the industry was full of smaller competitors. Then a decade ago, Comcast (CMCSA)  acquired AT&T Broadband who had acquired TCI and became the largest cable television company in the country.

Since that time there have been more mergers, but besides size, the industry hadnít changed much. However over the last several years significant changes have started to occur in the space. Changes, which threaten the traditional cable TV marketplace.

This is something that industry leaders would like to stop, but no one can stop progress.

Threats to Cable TV Marketplace

Suddenly, traditional cable television companies are losing market share. Thatís the first time this has happened, and it is putting enormous pressure on industry leaders like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision (CVC)  and Suddenlink.

The threat of losing market share is one of the key reasons I believe Comcast introduced Xfinity. It lets them create a new way to provide television over multiple channels like the Internet.

They are moving in this direction because new competitors like AT&T Uverse (T) , Verizon FiOS (VZ)  and CenturyLink Prism (CTL)  are eating their lunch. These are IPTV providers of television over the Internet. That opens up plenty of new and innovative services for customers.

In fact these new services have been winning awards regularly for quality and innovation. And there is more. New innovative ideas and companies like Netflix (NFLX) , Amazon.com (AMZN)  and Hulu are also eating traditional cable televisionís lunch.

Cable TV set itself up for failure by not paying attention to the customer over the last several decades. They didnít have to care. They had no competition. So they only cared about the investor, not the customer. This was their key mistake and they are paying the price for it right now.

Last week Comcast once again stressed their commitment to improve their customer care. That sounds great, except thatís the same thing they said several years ago. Apparently it hasnít worked for them yet. I guess itís hard to break old habits.

This customer care problem is not just Comcastís alone. Every cable television company suffers from the same issues, some more than others. Embracing a new way of thinking is apparently very difficult for these large companies.

So what does the future look like for TV? Yesterday we had to come home and sit down with a remote control in hand to watch what we want on the network schedule.

Going forward everything changes. The customer is in control. They get to watch what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want, wherever they are.

Signal will be sent over the wire line or wireless Internet. That means we can watch on our television, or computer or tablet, smartphone or smartwatch. And we can watch anywhere we happen to be, not just at home.

Everything is in the process of changing and reinventing itself in this sector. Thatís exciting. However this is both an opportunity and a risk. Itís an opportunity for new players with big ideas and a risk for traditional players stuck in the past.

Altice Enters US Cable TV Marketplace

This is the world that Altice is entering here in the USA. This is a huge, new opportunity. However, only certain companies will be winners. This is what Altice will focus on going forward.

Congratulations to Altice for throwing their hat into the ring. It will be interesting to see what new kind of ideas and thinking they bring to the table. Will they make other acquisitions? Will they be trying to update the entire cable television space, or just their company?

We can be sure they arenít just going to be doing business as usual.

Success in television going forward has two parts, innovation and customer care. Companies must hit it out of the park in both areas. However one thing is for sure, everything is changing. Doing business the same way will not work.

What will Altice add to the US marketplace? Thatís the question. Keep your eyes open. Weíll just have to wait and see.

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          May 20, 2015 1:03PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/altice-enters-us-cable-tv-market#sthash.hq5nT1r1.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150518/carriers/dish-enter-wireless-with-t-mobile

Kagan: Will Dish enter wireless with T-Mobile?

By Jeff Kagan  on May 18, 2015   Carriers

Consumers stream content, whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose

Dish Network has acquired quite a bit of wireless spectrum. What will CEO Charlie Ergen do with this valuable asset? It sounds like Dish growth will come from wireless and it appears T-Mobile may play a role. However the future is much bigger and different. So letís take a closer look at what Dish may do and if they will be successful.

Dish market share is roughly 14%. It has not really moved in years. Where will growth come from? We have watched Charlie Ergen scoop up wireless data spectrum in recent years and wondered why. Years ago it was less clear, but as the industry changes Dish strategy is becoming crystal clear.

While there has been no announcement yet from Dish, speculation is going wild. And to tell you the truth, it sounds like there is a real potential for Dish to change and enter the wireless universe. After understanding the path, the next question is simple. Will this succeed?

On one hand it seems to make sense. After all it appears that AT&T, a wireless and telecom company, is getting ready to acquire DirecTV. Looking at it from this perspective it might make just as much sense for a satellite television company to grow wirelessly as well.

On the other hand, we have seen Dish Network competitors like cable television companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox fall flat on their faces and fail in the wireless world. Wireless is such a rapidly growing and changing space, so that failure simply means these companies didnít understand the rules of wireless success.

So what makes Ergen think Dish can be successful in wireless when his larger competitors fell flat on their faces? The changing direction of the industry has become clearer in recent years. We have watched Netflix change from mailing out DVDís to streaming over the Internet and growing like crazy.

Plus people no longer just watch TV from their home set any longer. They watch over their wireless devices like smartphones, tabletís watches and computers. They watch whatever they want, wherever they are, whenever they want.

Perhaps thatís where T-Mobile USA enters the scene. Could Dish Network and T-Mobile be getting ready to partner on this wireless opportunity?

Perhaps. In recent interviews, Charlie Ergen, CEO of Dish Networks and John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile had glowing remarks to say about each other. If youíve been following this sector, you know how unusual that is.

If this is the Ergen plan, it sounds like a winner so far. The reason is simple: television is changing. The way networks deliver their product must changes as well. Wireless is a key component.

In fact, since the world of television and entertainment is changing, if Dish Network does not change and update itself, it will be relegated to the past.

This is a defining moment for Dish Network.

Remember the wave, which I often talk about? This is a perfect example. The wave grows, then crests, then falls. Traditional television over cable TV or satellite grew for years, but in recent years that growth wave has crested.

This challenges every competitor in the space. They must adapt and continue to grow, or they will crest and begin to fall. The traditional cable television and satellite business has crested. Now the question is whatís next for these industry leaders of yesterday?

New competitors like Telephone Company IPTV are rapidly growing. AT&T Uverse, Verizon FiOS and CenturyLink Prism are challenging traditional cable television.

Thatís why Comcast is chasing them with their new Xfinity. IPTV is the future whether it is delivered wirelessly or over the wired Internet.

Thatís the challenge that is faced by every competitor in this space. Satellite television is more limited with its technology so it must transform. AT&T is acquiring DirecTV. The next question is about Dish Networkís future.

Remember the wireless world has several different slices. We have been talking about delivering wireless television, but there is also the handset side with smartphones and networks.

Google for instance is successful with their Android operating system, but not with their Nexus phones. Now Google is moving into the network space to sell their own services as an MVNO like Tracfone. Will this be successful?

Not every newcomer to wireless is successful. Just look at both Facebook and Amazon.com with their Fire phone as examples. Wireless is a tough business and has lotís of different slices.

So will Dish be successful in wireless? Thatís the question. Weíll see. However television and smartphones and wireless are all changing and merging and morphing.

This is an enormous opportunity for companies who get it right, and risk for companies who miss.

We have yet to hear any details from Dish Networks. We donít know the details of the services like voice, data and television over the wireless network available to customers anywhere they are. We donít know about partners like possibly T-Mobile.

We donít know anything official. However looking at the changes in the rest of the industry and the changes that Dish needs to make going forward, I think we can make an educated guess they will be entering the wireless industry.

The question is how far? Will they use wireless to expand their television offerings only, or will they also be making voice services and smartphones and wireless Internet available to customers as well.

Will they still just compete in the television space or will their world expand to include wireless, Internet and telephone?

We donít have all the answers yet, or whether Dish will be successful or not yet, but we do know that changes are rewriting all these different industries. We also know that Dish has been successful in the past and we should prepare for them to expand going forward.

Dish Network Netflix T-Mobile

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About Author

Jeff Kagan

RCR Wireless News columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst and consultant. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. Web site www.jeffkagan.com.

 


 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/20150515/carriers/kagan-wireless-growth-wave-changing

Kagan: As wireless industry evolves, so must carriers

By Jeff Kagan

May 15, 2015  

Carriers must reinvent to keep competitive edge

We all focus on the details about growing our business, stomping on our competition and winning going forward. However we donít often stop, pull the camera back, and take a longer-term historical perspective on our changing industry. So letís take a look at where we are today and where we are heading as a wireless industry.

The wave of change is always present. Carriers, handset makers and in fact every company in the wireless space are always looking to grow.

Winners in wireless seem to be entrenched, but we can simply take a look at the last few years to see how the tumultuous wave of change transformed the industry, both on the network side and on the handset side.

I use the term wave, because thatís how I see this industry growing and changing. Every opportunity and every company is either on the growth side of the wave, the cresting side of the wave, or the falling side of the wave.

We have seen this wave theory play itself out, time and time again, in all different industry sectors. As an industry analyst I follow wireless, telecom, television, the Internet and communications technology in general. Each has seen dramatic shifts in leadership over time.

A look at the wireless industry is a great example. There is always so much change that is reinvents the entire industry every five to 10 years.

That means at any time, leaders can fall back and new companies can take the leadership position and change the entire industry. It happens all the time.

In fact every company faces the threat and the opportunity for both ups and downs on an ongoing basis. This is the wave. Being on the growth side is great. However before you crest and start to fall you must create the next growth wave to keep your momentum going.

Every opportunity grows, crests then falls. Itís up to every company to make sure itís always on the growth side of the wave. Companies must continually have updates and innovations or they will suffer when the wave passes on their offerings. They must keep stoking the fire. Keep it hot.

Remember when companies like Motorola, Blackberry and Nokia led in the wireless handset space? Then suddenly a few years ago everything changed. Now the leaders are Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy.

Thatís the kind of threat and opportunity that every company faces, every sector faces, every day.

Look at the networks. We can look at the wire line side as well, but letís take a look just at the wireless side. Every few years the industry reinvented itself. It grew from an analog industry, to digital, to faster and faster digital with 2G, 3G, 4G and now we are talking about 5G.

All four major wireless carriers were doing well before this shift. Then things started to separate over the last decade. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless continued to update and lead the smartphone and wireless data space.

Sprint and T-Mobile missed that opportunity and struggled for years. Sprint with Nextel and T-Mobile who simply missed the move toward wireless data services.

Now both Sprint and T-Mobile have started to grow once again and that is great for the competitive marketplace. We want to see more, not less, competitors trying to win our business.

The same kind of growth wave happened with long distance, local phone, dial-up Internet, cable television and so on. Today those are yesterdayís businesses. The wave has crested and they are on the falling side of the growth wave.

Traditional local phone service, traditional cable television service, traditional wireless service are all part of a growth wave which has crested and is on the downside.

However some companies continue to do a great job of changing and reinventing themselves and growing, while others struggle.

Just look at the three baby bells as an example. AT&T and Verizon are still growing and still looking for new opportunities. They no longer offer just local phone service, but have expanded.

Now they are providers of not only local and long distance, but also wireless, Internet, television where they compete with cable TV companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox and much more. They have shifted to the hot growth areas of the industry.

In fact both AT&T and Verizon are continuing to expand. AT&T has perhaps the most aggressive plans as they are acquiring DirecTV, Mexican wireless, helping the automotive industry go wireless, healthcare, home security and automation, U-verse TV and much more.

Verizon is also thinking about growth and change with their recent announced acquisition of AOL, their FiOS television and more. And we can expect more, not less as both of these companies rapidly reinvent themselves and create the next big growth wave to ride.

CenturyLink is the third baby bell, however they are less aggressive at change and growth. They are not into wireless, and they are not as aggressive at expanding their Prism TV offering.

CenturyLink is still important as a local phone company, but remember that opportunity has crested on the growth wave and is on the decline. So it will be interesting to watch them going forward.

Even the cable television industry tried to make it in wireless. Companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox tried and failed. They eventually sold their wireless business to Verizon Wireless.

As you can see, the marketplace is full of challanges and opportunities. Some companies are succeeding and others are struggling. Some are on the growth side of the wave, while others have crested and are trying to start their growth engines once again.

Some companies were leaders yesterday and are now followers. Other companies were leaders before and they still are today. Their challenge is to stay there.

These are just some of the stories in the rapidly changing world of wireless. As you can see there are plenty of winners and losers. In order to stay in the winning path you must create the next growth wave before your current growth wave crests and begins to fall.

Itís all about momentum. Every company and every opportunity is on a growth wave. It all depends where you are located on the wave. Are you on the growth side, the cresting side or the falling side?

The next question is what are your plans for tomorrow? Remember you can be number one or two today, but you can quickly be at the bottom of the heap within a few short years if you donít continue to stoke the fire and add new growth waves to your company.

This is the challenge every competitor faces every day. Thatís why some win and others struggle. Keep your eyes on the different growth waves and on each companyís position on that wave to determine whether they will be winning of losing going forward. And remember, that can change over time as the industry continues to change.

So join me each week as we explore the wireless world and everything it touches. Looking a companies and competition and the wave. There are plenty of companies who are going a great job and plenty of others who are struggling. And their leadership position can change at anytime.

Itís happened before and it will most likely happen again.

AT&T Carriers CenturyLink Verizon

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About Author

Jeff Kagan

Jeff Kagan  Website

RCR Wireless News columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst and consultant. Kagan shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for more than 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/ATT-Spreads-Rollover-Data-Cheer-to-GoPhone-82053.html

ANALYSIS

AT&T Spreads Rollover Data Cheer to GoPhone

Leadership in the wireless industry has changed dramatically over the last decade. On the handset side, BlackBerry and Nokia once ruled, but now it's Apple and Samsung. Leadership can change very quickly. That's the challenge for today's leaders -- and that's one reason underlying AT&T's rollover idea. Customers love it -- so they will remain customers.

By Jeff Kagan

May 14, 2015 9:23 AM PT

AT&T Mobility introduced Rollover Data early this year. The offering is very similar to its successful Rollover Minutes for voice calls, which it began offering a few years ago. The question is, will it be just as successful for data? It looks like the answer is yes, as it is now expanding the perk to GoPhone.

GoPhone is an AT&T Mobility prepaid brand. Prepaid is a rapidly growing wireless segment, and AT&T is determined to be a winner. That's why it has several unique brands, like GoPhone and Cricket, under its master AT&T brand.

Carriers still need to separate their prepaid brands from the universe of other wireless brands competing for your business. That's why they all try to implement attractive customer solutions.

Making Lightning Strike Twice

It's interesting how wireless is becoming a brand and master brand universe for AT&T. Several years ago, before wireless data was a fast-growing segment, wireless voice minutes were how the carriers competed. AT&T introduced its Rollover Minutes, letting customers keep unused minutes and roll them over to the next month.

It was successful, so why not try it with data? I loved the Rollover Data idea when it was launched back in January, but the question was, could AT&T get lightning to strike twice?

So far, it seems that Rollover Data is successful because AT&T is expanding it beyond the Mobile Share Value plans to the GoPhone.

I think GoPhone customers should love Rollover Data. Prepaid customers are focused on reducing costs, and this plan helps them reduce the cost of wireless data services. That's the whole point -- reducing costs to keep users happy.

Wireless Is Changing

This is a great time to stop and take a look at how the industry is growing and changing. Several years ago carriers competed on voice minutes. Today however, they compete on wireless data. Voice is almost a second thought.

The wireless world is a tough place to do business. You not only have to attract new customers, but also must retain your existing customers, who are being courted by the competition. To do that, carriers have been improving the customer experience and offering advanced services and features.

Not every company is successful in the wireless world. Sure, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless keep hitting it out of the park, but for years it seemed Sprint and T-Mobile kept striking out. Now, however, both Sprint and T-Mobile are getting their form back and are growing once again. That's good to see.

However, other companies have flamed out -- like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Facebook and even Amazon -- after struggling to succeed in wireless. They were like shooting stars -- they looked great for a moment, before burning up and fading away into oblivion.

Do It Again

Leadership in the industry has changed dramatically too. On the handset side, BlackBerry and Nokia once ruled, but now it's Apple and Samsung. Leadership can change very quickly. That's the challenge for today's leaders -- and that's one reason underlying AT&T's rollover idea. Customers love it -- so they will remain customers.

Wireless is not a world where the successful can kick back and enjoy their winnings, either on the network side or on the handset side. Wireless is a dog-eat-dog industry where you must stay strong and innovative or you lose.

Success in wireless is based on what you did yesterday. Today the question is, what have you done for me lately?

Wireless carriers deliver lots of different ideas to the marketplace. Some are successful, while others fall flat. AT&T is proving that some great ideas -- updated and reintroduced -- can win for the second time, even in a competitive marketplace.

When you have a great idea that customers love, you might just as well update it and run it again. It seems good ideas can make a comeback. Keep your eyes on the wireless industry. Innovation and change are the hallmarks of this rapidly growing space. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-why-verizon-acquiring-aol

Jeff Kagan: Why Verizon Acquiring AOL

By Jeff Kagan

May 13, 2015 12:52PM   

Tickers Mentioned: VZ AOL T CTL DTV

Now that all the media frenzy is dying down a bit, you may be asking yourself why Verizon (VZ)  would want to acquire AOL (AOL) ? Isnít AOL a name from yesterday? What value could they have for Verizon going forward? The answer is, itís all about keeping the Verizon stock price strong and growing.

The reason for this acquisition has little to do with the AOL of yesterday. Think tomorrow. Verizon is interested in acquiring assets that can help them continue to grow and stay strong to their investors. Itís a simple and as complicated as that.

A large part of the AOL appeal may be their Ad Tech business. AOL has spend plenty of time and energy developing this new area of business.

Companies like Verizon, AT&T (T)  and CenturyLink (CTL)  are the nations three largest local phone companies. They are what is left of the seven baby bells after a wave of mergers over the last decade or two.

The baby bells continued to grow through the 1990ís, but around 2000 they crested and local lines have been falling ever since.

This was the moment, which separated the growing baby bells from those who struggle.

Companies like Verizon and AT&T have continued to change and grow, while CenturyLink has taken a much slower path.

Think back to the late 1990ís. The baby bells were local phone companies, offering local phone lines to business and consumers. They got into long distance, but competitors started to move into phone service as well, like the VoIP services and wireless.

AT&T and Verizon made the right moves. They saw the threat. They evolved. They grew. They became bigger and stronger over the next decade. They moved into wireless, Internet, television and other services. Sure traditional telephone lines continue to shrink, but they grew in the other areas.

Thatís why AT&T and Verizon shareholders are very happy with their growth curve. They may have started out the same as CenturyLink, but today they are on two different paths.

CenturyLink was not as aggressive as AT&T and Verizon. CenturyLink is not into wireless and their television is not as aggressive on the growth track either.

This is why Verizon is interested in AOL. Itís the same reason AT&T is interested in DirecTV (DTV)  and Mexico and assorted other opportunities.

In fact AT&T has been the most aggressive at growth in these new areas. Thatís why Verizon is heading down this same path, although more slowly. They donít want to fall behind.

Who knows whether all these new areas will succeed? However thatís why companies continue to acquire several different companies in several different spaces. Itís like throwing mud against the wall. Some of it will stick and the rest will fall away. What sticks they will grow and build their future on.

Itís a simply concept, but this path has been successful decade after decade. And it will continue to be successful.

The bottom line is both AT&T and Verizon are interested in offering new services and increasing their income to keep their share price high and their shareholders happy. Thatís why Verizon is interested in AOL and their Ad Tech and other areas of success.

Itís really as simple as that. So congratulations VerizonÖ. ScreechÖ Youíve Got Mail!

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

By Jeff Kagan May 13, 2015 12:52PM 

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/jeff-kagan-why-verizon-acquiring-aol#sthash.4NSrvo19.dpuf

 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/The-Next-Big-Split-in-Wireless-82022.html

ANALYSIS

The Next Big Split in Wireless

The wireless industry will split into two parts. Players like Sprint and T-Mobile will focus on wireless. The other part will be players like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, which will transform other industries and move into new business growth areas, even as they continue to compete in wireless. They have more growth opportunities because they are both wire line and wireless.

By Jeff Kagan

May 7, 2015 9:51 AM PT

The wireless and wire line telecom industry completely reinvents itself every few years, it seems, with radical changes either to handsets or networks. Right now, everything seems to be changing.

Seven years ago, the handset leaders were BlackBerry and Nokia. Today, those companies are struggling to stay on the charts.

Today's handset leaders are Apple and Samsung for hardware, and Apple and Google for operating systems. These three companies have the vast majority of market share, although there are plenty of other brands trying to carve out a niche for themselves as well.

During the last several years, there has been a shift in the wireless industry's network side as well.

Almost a decade ago, the shift toward smartphones began. Then AT&T Mobility struck a deal with Apple to be the first to offer the iPhone. That exclusive deal lasted several years, letting AT&T capture enormous growth.

Around that same time, Google introduced its Android phone on T-Mobile. The first year it flopped, but Google learned and got better year after year. Now it leads on the operating system side. Google still is not successful its own branded handsets, however.

When AT&T's exclusive contract to distribute the iPhone ended, the industry buzz suggested the company would lose significant market share to other carriers like Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

That never happened. It's a feather in AT&T's cap that it kept the vast majority of its customers and has been adding more year after year. In fact, its most recent earnings report shows it is still in growth mode.

The Industry Today

Today, Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy line and other handsets running Google's Android lead the smartphone space with every wireless carrier in the U.S. market.

During the latest quarter, churn rates -- the rate at which customers leave one network and go to another -- continued to be at historic lows. That's also impressive.

Growth on the wireless data side also been rapid during the last several years. The number of apps used on smartphones has increased rapidly from a few hundred seven years ago, when BlackBerry ruled, to upwards of 2.5 million today, with Google and Apple leading.

So we have seen an enormous growth wave transform the wireless industry for networks, handset makers, app makers and so on. It has been a wild growth bonanza, and it's continuing, although growth rates are slowing since many consumers already have smartphones.

AT&T and Verizon are the two largest and strongest wireless and wire line carriers in the industry today. They are pretty much equal in size and coverage, and both seem to have very happy customers.

Sprint and T-Mobile have had a tougher last seven years. However, during the last year or two, both have shown strong signs of reawakening and growth. If this continues, and there is no reason to think it won't, both Sprint and T-Mobile will continue to get stronger in the marketplace.

Now Google is jumping into the wireless business on the network side as well, as an MVNO. We'll have to wait and see what kind of dent it can make in the industry, if any. Its unveiling a few weeks ago was disappointing, to say the least. Let's hope it gets better as time passes.

Future Growth

Where will future growth come from in the wire line and wireless industry?

Handset makers will continue to improve their designs and hypnotize users. However, what I see coming are evolutionary, not revolutionary, improvements. That said, growth will continue.

Carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile will continue to improve their wireless networks and win more market share, quarter after quarter.

Smaller players like U.S. Cellular, C Spire, Tracfone, and others will continue to grow on the wireless side; however, their growth rates don't seem as robust or their products as innovative as the market leaders.

Google wireless is a question mark.

AT&T and Verizon are where the real changes will come from. So far, it looks like AT&T is more aggressively changing toward a new growth model, but I can't imagine that Verizon won't eventually join in.

Wireless Will Split Into 2

I get the sense that the wireless industry will split into two parts.

One part will be players like Sprint and T-Mobile, which will focus on wireless. The other part will be players like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, which will transform other industries and move into new business growth areas, even as they continue to compete in wireless.

Here's an example: Wireless traditionally has been mostly a postpaid business. However, in recent years, prepaid has become a rapidly growing segment. Both AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have prepaid offerings, but AT&T has turned up the heat by starting AIO Wireless, acquiring Cricket. This is a new, healthy and growing business.

AT&T and Verizon are interested in everything from wireless in Mexico, to acquiring DirecTV to offer satellite television in the U.S., to helping many other industries -- like healthcare, retail, automotive and so on -- transform using wireless.

In fact, for wireless companies in general, the automotive industry is an exciting opportunity. Companies can connect each new car to their wireless networks, letting customers do many new things. Customers can get a WiFi signal for riders in the car, get more detailed traffic and route guidance, as well as news, weather and other information.

On the wire line side of the business, there are also television services, like AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and CenturyLink Prism. There are home automation and alarm systems, and so on.

There is much more, but you see my point. There are many growth opportunities for AT&T and Verizon, because they are both wire line and wireless companies.

AT&T's Master Brand

I believe AT&T will have to focus on branding, since it is moving into other areas of business. The AT&T master brand is key at the top, while other brands have their place underneath.

Any way you slice it, the wireless and wire line industry is healthy, growing and changing. The industry looks very different today compared with 10 years ago -- and it will look just as different 10 years from today. Stay tuned. 

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/healthcare/jeff-kagan-new-book-stroke-recovery-stories

Jeff Kagan: New Book, Stroke Recovery Stories

By Jeff Kagan  

May 5, 2015 5:49AM   

Tickers Mentioned: AMZN BKS AAPL GOOG MSFT

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Let me tell you a secret. I am a stroke survivor. Itís been more than 10 years since my life changed in the blink of an eye. My recovery took years. However, I consider myself fortunate because I fought my way back. Now I want to help others with their stroke recovery. Thatís why I wrote and published the book, Stroke Recovery Stories.

The full title is, Stroke Recovery Stories: Humorous and Inspiring Stories Told By Stroke Survivors and the People Who Love Them. As you can see, this book was not entirely written by me. Other stroke survivors and a neurologist also write chapters in a very unique and inspiring book.

David Ober, MD, Chief of Neurology at Nyack Hospital wrote the Special Introduction. He tells the reader what everyone involved with stroke needs to know from a medical point of view. You will have a much better understanding of stroke and recovery after reading this chapter.

Next, each chapter is written by a different stroke survivor. Some chapters are written by survivors telling their story while others are written by family and caretakers. Each has itís own unique flavor, lessons and inspiration.

The purpose of this book is to have the reader learn from others. Think of this book like a support session where everyone sitís in a room and gets a chance to tell their story and the lessons they learned in order to help others.

I am very impressed with each chapter and each survivorís story. Some made me laugh and others made me cry, but each taught me something new. This is important whether you are a stroke survivor, caretaker, family or friend.

Visit the American Stroke Association or the National Stroke Association for more information on stroke.

www.strokeassociation.org

www.stroke.org

Stroke Recovery Stories is brand new and was just published last week. It is available on Amazon.com at the Kindle store.

I have learned that Amazon.com Kindle (AMZN) , Barnes & Noble Nook (BKS) , Apple iPad (AAPL)  and others, are a remarkable technology. They give the reader the ability to carry tons of books in a little device. They let the reader buy new books or just browse wherever they are.

They give the author the ability to write, to add and update the material in the eBook on an ongoing basis until they are ready to stop. And when the book is updated, previous customers get the updated material.

You can add pictures and links to the text taking the reader to different places on the web to enhance the experience. Ebooks are an incredible next step in book publishing. While the eBook does not have the same feel as a real book in your hands, you can do so much more that this is truly an amazing technology.

Ever since my book went on sale last week, I have received emails from other stroke survivors who want to tell their story as well. This is an incredible opportunity for any author. I will either add these stories to this book on Kindle, or write a follow up eBook and create a series. And readers who buy at anytime will get the updates as well.

A hard cover edition is also easy and can be created using CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company. CreateSpace helps you create a hard copy book using print on demand technology or POD. There are many POD companies to choose from today.

POD prints a single, real, book at a time and ships it to the reader within days. That means no investment in large quantities of books. That means the author can update the material just like with the eBook.

The world of publishing is completely changing over the last five to 10 years. There is still the traditional book publishing industry, but now there are other slices of the pie as well.

There are many eBook publishers to help you create your book. There are many stores online at places like Amazon.com Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple, Google (GOOG) , Microsoft (MFST)  and more. If you want to be an author, the tools are there for you to get started today.

So remember, May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is something that happens to 750,000 Americanís every year. As large a number as that represents, itís actually much larger than that. If you include the family and friends of each survivor, you can see how millions of Americans are affected every year.

Plus since stroke recovery takes many years, there are tens of millions of Americans who are dealing with it today. And there are many more worldwide. Understanding stroke is important. It impacts so many. And there is still little in the way of real helpful information.

However the good news is stroke survivors can and do recover. They get back to work or change what they do going forward. It can be easier for a young stroke survivor to recover more fully.

The brain is really a miraculous blessing. Like a computer with a bad section on the hard drive, the brain can often re-write itís software to work around the dead spot. It just takes time and effort.

I lived through it. Itís terrible, but itís also truly amazing to watch the body and the brain heal. Stroke was an incredible ride. Donít get me wrong, I have been on this ride once and thatís enough. However what I have learned has changed me, for the better I hope!

So take a look at the free preview on Amazon.com. Remember, stroke can happen to anyone at any time. And when it happens, it instantly changes your life. Donít believe me? I didnít believe it myself, until it happened to me that is.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan     May 5, 2015 5:49AM 

 

 

 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Is-Comcast-TWC-Dead-or-Just-Sleeping-81993.html

ANALYSIS

Is Comcast, TWC Dead or Just Sleeping?

The Comcast, TWC deal made sense for the two companies, but not for the industry and not for the customers. The reason is that there is not yet enough competition for high-speed Internet across the country. If over the next several years other companies offer ultra-fast Gigabit-speed Internet services in the vast majority of locations from coast to coast, then the time may be ripe for another try.

By Jeff Kagan

Apr 30, 2015 9:05 AM PT

Now that the Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger deal has failed, what's next? I think it's likely that if Time Warner Cable is still around, the deal might be tried once again in a few years after the industry has transformed itself.

Comcast obviously is still interested in expanding with Time Warner Cable and will try this merger dance again in a few years. This has worked before. Where, you ask? Think about AT&T over the last 10 to 15 years as one example.

A Brief History of AT&T

AT&T was the largest telephone company in the world during the last century. In the 1980s, it spun off the local phone business to seven Baby Bells. Then AT&T the long distance giant competed against MCI and Sprint.

When the Baby Bells started to sell long distance as well as local services, the long distance industry started to fade away.

In the late 1990s Ed Whitacre, CEO of SBC -- the smallest Baby Bell -- tried to acquire AT&T. That attempt failed.

The long distance sector -- and the entire telecom industry -- continued to change, and AT&T eventually became much smaller and less important.

In the early 2000s, Ed Whitacre once again tried to acquire AT&T, and that time was successful. SBC also acquired BellSouth and Cingular, and the entire company took the name "AT&T."

Today, AT&T is one of the largest, strongest and most successful communications companies in the U.S. and, in fact, the world.

Not Enough Players

That is what I think could happen here with Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The marketplace is not ready for this merger today, but perhaps it will be in a few years.

Today the deal made sense for the two companies, but not for the industry and not for the customers. The reason is that there is not yet enough competition for high-speed Internet across the country.

Sure, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and CenturyLink Prism offer excellent quality television over the Internet using IPTV. Sure, they offer blazing Internet speeds. And sure, companies like AT&T are rolling out their ultra-fast Gigapower Internet service.

However, we are just in the very early stages of this revolution. Today there is little in the way of competition in the vast majority of the United States.

If over the next several years other companies offer ultra-fast Gigabit-speed Internet services in the vast majority of locations from coast to coast, then the time may be ripe for Comcast and Time Warner Cable to try merging once again.

Tomorrow Is Another Day

In the meantime, I fully expect Comcast to continue to improve its core services so it can compete with new threats like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Google and others for Internet and television.

Of course, Time Warner Cable may not be around a few years from now. I think other companies will be interested in acquiring it now that Comcast has stepped aside. Perhaps Charter or some other company will give it a try.

Mergers and acquisitions will continue in this industry. They have been happening for decades and will continue.

M&A is alive. Many smaller deals will continue to happen. It's just that now, when there are relatively few companies competing, regulators must be careful which deals they approve.

As for Comcast and Time Warner Cable, No. 1 merging with No. 2 was just not right at this time. Tomorrow may be a different story.

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-analyst-on-google-project-fi-wireless

Jeff Kagan: Analyst on Google Project Fi Wireless

By Jeff Kagan

April 28, 2015 8:00AM   

Tickers Mentioned: GOOG WEN SSNNF AAPL T VZ S TMUS WMT FB AMZN CMCSA TWX

As a pretty well known wireless analyst, I've been lucky to get to write about and tell you my thoughts on different new technologies and offerings for the past several years. Last week, Google Project Fi was launched, and to tell you the truth, I am scratching my head with this one. I was expecting something big, but there is no there, there. Nearly every wireless network and handset maker makes sure I am briefed on their strategies and thinking so that I can discuss these strategies with the media, and in my columns. But to tell you the truth, while I like Google Inc. (GOOG) , I just donít get Project Fi.

Remember that great Wendyís (WEN)  television commercial from the 1980ís, where that dear old granny Clara Peller asked, "Whereís the beef?" That same question has been on my mind since Googleís announcement last week.

Whereís the Beef, Google?

I honestly thought Google was going to blow the doors off and try to rewrite the rules of wireless. Similar to the way they changed the field when they introduced the Android operating system for the handset several years ago. That didnít happen.

Should we conclude that maybe Google does not fully understand marketing, advertising and public relations?

Last week's introduction of Google Project Fi was a disappointment. And the mistakes they made will make it harder for them to regroup and be relevant in the marketplace they wanted to change and to own.

The audience was seated, the stage was set, and all Google had to do was WOW the crowd with an industry changing announcement. Weíve been talking and speculating for months about Project Fi. Google should have leveraged that energy and excitement and built on it. This could have been a real event. You would think they would have worked their marketing magic and created a really big splash that would reinvent the way we think about wireless.

Thatís what I, and frankly, everyone else expected. Unfortunately, thatís not what happened. I was expecting something big and transformative, but the first skyrocket turned out to be a dud.

Donít get me wrong - I like Google. I respect what they have done over the last decade, and how they have stuck their foot into many different industries and segments. They are trying to rewrite the traditional rules we have lived by forever. True, sometimes they cross the line, but they also give us so much.

However, when it comes to an announcement of this magnitude, I expected so much more than what we actually got...I think we all did.

The world was watching. Google had an incredible breakout marketing opportunity. They could have redefined the wireless space with this announcement. Thatís what we were expecting, but thatís not what happened.

Where Google Project Fi Missed

One, the price is no better than what is already in the marketplace from a variety of competitors...so there was nothing new here.

Two, the phone they will market is their Nexus device, which has been one of the big sleepers. It does not hold a candle to the Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhone or Samsung Electronics Co (SSNNF) Galaxy, which uses the Google Android operating system. This was a disappointment.

So whatís new and different? The biggest deal I can see is that the Google brand is now on a service, not just a handset. That will let Google compete with other wireless networks like AT&T Inc. (T) Mobility, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)   Wireless, Sprint Corp (S) , T-Mobile US (TMUS) , Tracfone, Family Mobile from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)  using the T-Mobile network, and so on, not just handset makers like Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

These carriers are all successful. Can Google compete against them?

Google has been trying to win at wireless for years. Their Android operating system is a winner. Their Nexus device is not. So the jury is out on whether Google Project Fi will succeed or fail.

A Brief History of Failure in the Wireless Sector

The Google Nexus handset is designed to make calls and log on to wireless data by first looking for a Wi-Fi signal. If there is no Wi-Fi signal, it will default to either the Sprint or T-Mobile network. While this is interesting and a potential win for Sprint and T-Mobile, itís not the kind of stuff that will help Google sell phones and build market share in this industry.

Remember, other non-wireless companies tried and failed to enter this business as well. Remember Facebook Inc. (FB)  and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) ? Everyone got excited about their entry as well, until they failed and disappeared.

The same thing happened with cable television companies Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) , Time Warner Inc. (TWX)  and Cox, all of which failed to make headway in wireless, and quickly exited the sector.

As you can see, success in wireless is not easy. It has only been achieved by a select few, either on the handset side or the network side. I hope Google is successful, because we can always use more competitors who can shake things up in the marketplace. It keeps us on edge, and keeps innovation flowing, which is good.

However, so far, Google has not done a good job with their entry. And the entry is important...it creates a framework, which the marketplace understands, and allows analysts to judge its success or failure going forward.

Competing Carriers Will Be Watching

Even though Google was not successful with this introduction, I can assure you that all carriers will still be watching closely, just in case. You donít ignore the Google threat. And if they are successful, they could be a threat.

However, so far at least, if this was Googleís opportunity to create a new way of thinking about them and about wireless, I think they missed...big time. There's no there, there. Not yet, anyway.  

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   April 28, 2015 8:00AM 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/The-Growing-Robocall-Menace-81969.html

ANALYSIS

The Growing Robocall Menace

Many VoIP robocalls come from overseas. International robocalling would not have been conceivable over regular phone networks. It would have been prohibitively expensive. However, it now may cost no more to call around the world than across the street. U.S. laws and regulations have absolutely no power over this growing problem. Companies are controlled by their countries' rules and regulations.

By Jeff Kagan

Apr 23, 2015 10:22 AM PT

Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them?

Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems. They may consist of recorded messages, or a real person may get on the line to make a telemarketing pitch once a prospect has picked up.

Sales and marketing phone calls started long before the Internet, email and social sites popped up. In the 1980s and early 1990s, companies would call you every night around dinnertime, often asking you to switch your long distance service. There were dozens of other common sales pitches as well.

Back then, there were countless companies that dialed you on a daily basis as part of their marketing efforts. It was one arrow in their advertising quiver. They never thought about or cared about how it tarnished their image in the marketplace. They just kept dialing away, driving everyone nuts.

Then the Federal Trade Commission started the National Do Not Call Registry -- and surprisingly, it worked. After you signed up, most of the calls stopped. Ahhh. Peace at last.

The Rise of VoIP

After the calls started once again, years later, I thought perhaps the Do Not Call Registry had a time limit, so I signed up once again. However it didn't help. The calls kept coming -- and they got worse every year. Now I get so many crap calls every day I just want to scream! What happened?

The calls in the 1980s and 1990s were made by U.S. companies on U.S. soil using U.S. telephone networks to call people in the U.S. The callers were held to the same legal standards as any other U.S. company and had to follow the rules of the road.

Back then, companies dialed you on regular phone networks and had to pay for every call. So accepting some restrictions also meant reducing costs.

Then VoIP was born -- and peace and quiet died.

Voice over Internet Protocol hit the scene in the late 1990s, allowing voice calls over the Internet rather than a telephone network. The calls were free, and there were no rules. The rules applied to traditional telephone networks, not the Internet.

Back then, VoIP used to let you hook up a speaker and microphone to your computer and make calls. It was rough, and the quality was terrible, but it was fun in those early days.

As the years passed and quality improved, larger companies started getting involved. Today, VoIP is a standard offering from a variety of telephone companies, cable companies and assorted VoIP providers for home and office.

Anything Goes

Now, roughly 20 years later, VoIP technology is far more advanced, and the quality is much better. However, it still is not subject to the same rules and regulation as a telephone network. That means companies can use VoIP to make those annoying robocalls once again -- and they have.

Often, there is no additional cost to make a VoIP call once the equipment is set up. So, while companies saved money in the past by not calling people who were not interested, that is no longer a reason to avoid making a call. So they call.

Many VoIP robocalls come from overseas. International robocalling would not have been conceivable over regular phone networks. It would have been prohibitively expensive. However, it now may cost no more to call around the world than across the street.

U.S. laws and regulations have absolutely no power or control over this growing problem. Calling companies are controlled by their countries' rules and regulations.

That's why robocalls are flaring up once again. So are we out of luck? Is there any solution?

All Hands on Deck

I was a guest on a radio talk show last week, discussing this issue along with Tim Marvin, a grassroots coordinator with the Consumers Union.

There may be some helpful tools, such as NoMoRobo.com.

There are many other tools that companies have invented to solve this problem. However, none has been shown to solve it.

There has to be a solution, doesn't there? Of course, the solution would have to be low or no cost to the end user, and to the companies providing their home phone service as well.

The time is right. The time is now. Come on, somebody. Anybody. Give us a solution! We all want to go back to our quiet and peaceful lives. 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-solution-for-comcast-time-warner-cable-merger

Jeff Kagan: Solution for Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger

By Jeff Kagan 

April 20, 2015 12:00AM   

Tickers Mentioned: CMCSA TWC T VZ DTV DISH CTL

As an industry analyst, I have been following the Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) , Time Warner Cable (TWC)  merger since it was announced. After hearing all the different points of view, I have concluded that there is only one real answer...and it may not be what you expect.

Granted, there are real benefits that will come about if these two companies were allowed to merge. Thatís one reason to approve. However, there are also plenty of other areas, which would potentially cause stress to the consumer and to the industry due to lack of competition.

There are multiple ways to look at this potential merger:

ē From an investment point of view, which is how the two companies look at it.

ē From the consumer point of view. Will it bring increased competition, innovation and lower prices?

ē From the industry point of view. Will this merger enhance or harm the industry?

The question today is, "Should regulators approve the merger or not?"

I would say yes, but not today. Perhaps a few years down the road, when the marketplace is ready. Right now, this merger is not ready, because while there are good things that will come from it, there are also potential downsides as well. Regulators must consider all sides, and while good things will happen - like faster Internet and other innovative services, the problem is that there is little or no competition in the majority of America yet. In short, a merger could skew the industry.

Similar Merger...Very Different Market

There was a similar merger request that was denied in the late 1990ís. SBC wanted to acquire AT&T (T) . At that time the telecom marketplace was changing, and the baby bells were strong while the long distance players were weak. So from an investment point of view, this merger made sense.

However, regulators said no, because it did not yet make sense from the marketplace or the consumer point of view. So over the next several years, the telecom marketplace continued to change and grow, and those problems were solved.

In the mid-2000ís, SBC tried once again to acquire AT&T. This time, the merger was approved. SBC took the AT&T name, then acquired BellSouth and Cingular and transformed themselves from the smallest baby bell to quite possibly the largest telecom company in the United States.

The result was spectacular. Today, AT&T is one of the very few largest and strongest companies in the USA. They provide excellent quality and top shelf customer care. This was not only good for AT&T, but also for Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) , the overall telecom industry and all the consumers.

That is what regulators should be focused on today. Regulators should make sure this Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger is a win-win-win for everyone.

So Why Not Approve the Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Today?

It appears that the Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger would be good for the companies, so why not approve it? The reason is simple - the average customer still doesn't have choice yet. Satellite TV companies like DirecTV (DTV)  and DISH Network Corp. (DISH)  have carved out a niche over the last couple decades. AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and CenturyLink Prism (CTL)  started rolling out their services in recent years as well.

While these are award-winning services for quality, innovation and price, they are not available everywhere or to every customer yet. Thatís the problem: Timing. In the vast majority of America, the average customer does not have choice yet. Thatís why I donít believe the industry or consumers are ready for a Comcast, Time Warner Merger yet.

Give the new and changing television marketplace a chance to grow and to expand. After several more years, when all customers have a choice, then a merger would make more sense. At that time, it would provide innovation to Time Warner Cable customers without a threat of Comcast having too much power since there are real competitors in this space if the customer is not happy.

Generally speaking, I have no problem with a Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger. As a consumer I use both in two different locations. I can see the benefits of a merger. However I do have a problem with the timing.

Bottom line: Wait on this merger by saying no today. Let the marketplace continue to grow and change, and get to the point where the merger will not only be good for these two companies and their investors, but for the consumers and the marketplace, as well.

Several years from now, just like with SBC and AT&T, when the deal makes sense for every angle, it can be approved.

Until then, we must encourage every competitor to grow and expand - both Comcast and Time Warner Cable should want this as well. That would be in the best interest of the companies, the customers and the marketplace. Eventually, a merger will make sense...just not today.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          April 20, 2015 12:00AM 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-solution-for-comcast-time-warner-cable-merger#sthash.zEeUaENY.dpuf

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/GE-Catches-the-Industrial-Internet-Wave-81946.html

ANALYSIS

GE Catches the Industrial Internet Wave

The Industrial Internet lets machines communicate over the Internet with their makers. They get software updates and service calls over the Net. It's for machines of all kinds -- from kitchen appliances to factory robots. Just as we have to update our iPhone or Android on a regular basis, we also will have to update our dishwasher or our auto-manufacturing plant equipment.

By Jeff Kagan

Apr 16, 2015 9:15 AM PT

General Electric made some important news last week, when it announced it was leaving the finance industry. It attributed its decision to recent changes that it characterized as less cyclical and more transformational. At the same time, GE is focused on newer ideas like its "Industrial Internet." If it executes this the right way, it could be a blueprint for growth going forward.

The Industrial Internet is an important growth engine opportunity, but most people don't have a clue what it really is. In fact, there are many new competitors, both large and small companies, in this field. They all use different names for the technology.

An Internet for Machines

Any way you slice it, this has the potential to be a very big and fast-growing industry segment. The average person doesn't use it. We use the Internet to surf the Web, get email, send chat messages, watch movies, interact on social networks and more.

Less sexy, but just as important, we can use the Web to connect to a variety of systems -- home management, automobile and healthcare, for example. We can arm our home security system or change the temperatures remotely, communicate with our car -- or our doctor -- and so on.

The Industrial Internet isn't for us -- it's used by machines to connect to their manufacturers and get updates. This segment is going to be huge.

GE owns many other companies and leads in many sectors. When I was young, there was a huge GE plant nearby. Back then, it was considered very large and powerful. However, compared with today, it was a small mom-and-pop operation.

Over the last several decades, GE has grown and changed, and today it is a colossal organization. If GE can't lead in a segment, it is not interested in playing ball -- and GE is changing the game once again.

That's why it is leaving finance. That's also why it is entering the Industrial Internet space. GE is continually reshaping itself for the future and staying on the growth side of the wave I often discuss.

Building Steam

GE also looks at the world like a wave. The wave has several sides: a growth side, a cresting side, and a falling side. GE is interested in the growth side of the wave. When segments crest and fall, GE gets out. When segments are on the growth side however, and when GE thinks it can lead, it is on the radar. This is a winning philosophy.

Finance is no longer on the growth side of the wave. However, the Industrial Internet is early on the growth side, and that's what has captured GE's attention.

This new segment is in its very early stages, although it is on many companies' radar. There is no real leader today, but over the next several years, there will be a great deal of growth that will attract lots of attention from investors and workers.

The Industrial Internet lets machines communicate over the Internet with their makers. They get software updates and service calls over the Net. It's for machines of all kinds -- from kitchen appliances to factory robots.

Going forward, every machine will use software, and software needs to be updated continually. So just as we have to update our iPhone or Android on a regular basis, we also will have to update our dishwasher or our auto-manufacturing plant equipment.

The Industrial Internet -- or whatever you want to call it -- is a very important part of our future. It is a part many consumers may not even know exists, because we don't use it. It will work automatically behind the scenes, keeping everything we have and use in tiptop shape.

So the Industrial Internet is a huge opportunity for GE. It will be very interesting to follow this hidden part of the industry to see what develops over the next several years. It also will be very interesting to see which companies lead in this space going forward.  

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/wall-street/what-every-ceo-should-focus-on

Jeff Kagan: What Every CEO Should Focus On

By Jeff Kagan

April 15, 2015 1:11PM   

A company CEO must balance a variety of different and often conflicting groups including investors, workers and customers. Activist investors are now a growing concern. Focusing on the wrong group, or just one group can leave the company unbalanced and weaker.

The question is, if there are that many different groups all demanding attention, which should a CEO focus on?

This seems to be one of the most important questions every CEO must focus on today as investor activists raise their voices and make increasing demands. My take is simple. If an investor is not happy with the management of a company, they should simply leave and find a company and management team they are happy with.

Serving Multiple Masters

Investors, while very important, should not drive the direction of a company. If a company fails because of bad decisions, then it should be allowed to fail. However if a company succeeds because of good decisions, then they should be allowed to revel in their success and prepare for their future.

Activist investors can play a role, however they donít belong in the driver's seat. All they do is take the eyes of the management team off the real threats and opportunities and put the company at risk.

Years ago, I learned an important answer to the question of what a CEO should focus on from Herb Kelleher, former CEO and co-founder of Southwest Airlines (LUV) . He said the worker should be the top priority, followed by the customer and finally the investor.

That sounds backwards if we continue to focus on the shareholder activism, which seems to been growing stronger in recent years. However, Kelleherís focus is the only true path to long-term success.

While I respect the success of investor activists, they represent a real long-term threat to a company trying to squeeze out short-term profits.

Companies, who first focus on the investor, often search for short-term ways to increase the stock price. This rewards the investor in the short term, but longer term, it can ravage the company and its competitive position.

Companies, who focus on the customer, can have happy customers with regards to the product, but often the workers have a sour taste in their mouth, which can spoil the relationship with the customer. So this should not be the primary focus either.

Companies, who first focus on the worker, create a happier and warmer workforce and environment. This is key. When the worker is treated with respect and they feel important to the success of the company, they try harder to help the company get better and stronger in the marketplace.

When giving speeches to groups of executives and workers, this is part of the message I like to offer. And this part always generates excitement and applause. On one hand it could because the audience is the workforce, but itís also an obvious key to success that many companies simply ignore.

Defining a Successful Company

Iím sure if you think about it, you will come to the same conclusion. There are so many companies out there today. Some are very successful while others struggle. Why are they not all successful? Thatís what a company should be focused on. Not the battle with investors.

Investors shouldnít try and steer the ship. The CEO knows the delicate balance that must be achieved to make sure every different group wins. Investors are just one of those groups.

CEOs must focus on long-term success and growth. They must focus on the right things first and that will vastly improve the chances for great success in the long term.

So CEOs, take a lesson from Kelleher, focus on the workers first, then the customers, then the investors.

 

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com   

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By Jeff Kagan   +Follow          April 15, 2015 1:11PM 

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Comcast-Joins-Ultra-High-Speed-Internet-Race-81922.html

ANALYSIS

Comcast Joins Ultra-High-Speed Internet Race

It looks as though two carriers are really rushing into this space, while others are moving more cautiously. Companies are starting to see this ultra-high-speed Internet service as a key offering of the future. That's why they are testing the waters. Comcast's announcement could be the start of a whole new segment of companies getting into this space -- the cable industry. Which could be next?

By Jeff Kagan

Apr 9, 2015 9:18 AM PT

Comcast has joined the ultra-fast Internet race, starting with the rollout of its Gigabit Pro service. It looks like ultra-high-speed Internet services are really starting to catch on. The trend started a few years ago with Google Fiber and AT&T Gigapower, and it is spreading among carriers and locations from coast to coast.

Comcast's new 2-Gb service is starting in the Atlanta area next month. The company is planning to roll it out to other cities, but it has not yet named them or given a timetable. As for prices, nothing has been announced. Comcast likely will not offer a 1-Gb service at a lower price.

Although Comcast is attempting to drum up some excitement, we know nothing today other than it will be joining the high-speed race in Atlanta. I love to see more companies joining the race, and I welcome Comcast, but it's very frustrating that all of the details are being kept under wraps.

Gigabit-Speed Internet

The Internet has been getting faster and faster, year after year, since the race started in the mid 1990s. Gigabit-speed Internet connections are the next natural step in the evolution of the Net.

As speeds increase, it's important to realize that today's high speeds are far faster than the vast majority of customers need. That said, it is still exciting to watch companies like AT&T, Google and others really turn the dial way up. Now Comcast is joining that race.

Gigabit Internet started a few short years ago. The two leaders today are AT&T U-verse with Gigapower and Google Fiber. They are both very aggressive with current rollouts and both have plans to expand to more cities. There is a there there when you look at AT&T and Google.

A few other companies have entered the space as well, but they are just dipping their toes into the market. They include the No. 3 Baby Bell, CenturyLink, as well as C Spire, whose Fiber to the Home project is bringing ultra-high-speed Internet to a few Mississippi cities.

Verizon recently preannounced its entry into the space as well, with its next-generation Metro Network. It hasn't provided any details yet, however.

So far, it looks as though two carriers are really rushing into this space, while others are moving more cautiously. Companies are starting to see this ultra-high-speed Internet service as a key offering of the future. That's why they are testing the waters.

Comcast's announcement could be the start of a whole new segment of companies getting into this space -- the cable industry. Which could be next? Can we expect Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision, Charter and others?

Speed Difference Won't Matter

Comcast says it will deliver a 2-Gb connection. Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse with Gigapower have been rolling out 1-Gb connections over the last couple of years.

So what's the difference? To tell you the truth, I don't think the average customer will notice the difference. The only few who will are those who need ultra-fast speed for their work -- people like computer engineers, for example, who require tons of bandwidth.

The reason I am sure of this is simple. If there were a threat, then both AT&T and Google would already have jumped up to 2-Gb speed. By the time there is a threat of losing business, all competitors simply will jump to this speed.

Today, I think 2-Gb speed is more about marketing and buzz for Comcast than anything else.

However, faster connections is what this entire industry has been about for the last 20 years. That will not change as we continue to progress -- from dial-up to DSL to ultra-fast 1Gb, 2Gb, 3Gb and beyond.

Customers will be able to choose their favorite provider for ultra-high-speed service. However, we are very early in this new game, and there may be only one carrier offering that speed in your town. You won't have choice in the near term, but it will come.

Tomorrow, all of us will have multiple choices of providers.

So let me offer congratulations to Comcast for jumping in and joining the ultra-high-speed Internet race in the Atlanta market. It will be good for it to get its feet wet, and it will be good for the marketplace to have another competitor.

I hope all competitors are successful in this new space. However, here's a note to Comcast, Verizon, and anyone else wanting to get into this space: Please give us the details, for crying out loud, so we can compare.

As for the other cable television companies -- I think it's past time to dip your toes into the ultra-high- speed water already!  

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com

 

 


 

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/telecommunication/jeff-kagan-sprint-opening-in-radioshack-stores

Jeff Kagan: Sprint Opening in RadioShack Stores

By Jeff Kagan 

April 7, 2015 8:00AM   

Tickers Mentioned: S RSH

Sprint Corp. (S)  is getting ready to open in more than 1,700 RadioShack Corporation (RSH)  stores from coast to coast. Retail is increasingly important to wireless, as users want to see and touch new devices. They want to see how they work and how they look. Thatís why I think this is a big opportunity for Sprint.

As you know, RadioShack is currently in bankruptcy. And Sprint was just approved by the bankruptcy court to move into more than 1,700 RadioShack stores.

This is good news for the third largest wireless carrier. RadioShack of course closed many stores several years ago. Today, they need a really big new retail push, and this could be just what the doctor ordered. This will give Sprint the chance to dramatically increase retail store frontage, virtually overnight.

Not the End for RadioShack

When RadioShack filed for bankruptcy, we thought that was it for this historic but tired brand. However, looking at a picture of new storefront, it looks like they will still be around.

The storefront sign will have a very large word Sprint, and a smaller word RadioShack below. Weíll have to wait and see what the RadioShack portion of these stores will look like. So it does look like RadioShack will survive, but in a smaller form factor.

Sprintís Aggressive Rollout

It looks like Sprint is planning a very aggressive rollout of these new storefronts as a way to energize their sales and customer engagement. I think these new co-branded stores will be very important to Sprint as they work toward a rapid turnaround and growth. In recent months, Sprint has done a good job of punching its way back onto the map. Their latest offer is paying all switching costs for new customers.

Sprint and RadioShack in Each Store

So it sounds like there will be two stores in each location - a Sprint branded space and a RadioShack branded space. Word is that these new stores will launch soon, on April 10. Thatís one very quick turnaround. CEO of Sprint Marcelo Claure has a big job ahead as he looks to reinvigorate the Sprint brand. Claure seems to be hitting the right cords so far with new plans and offers, and this retail expansion with RadioShack stores looks like another potentially strong move for Sprint.

As for RadioShack, Ron Garriques has joined the company and will be leading them through their new jumpstart. Trying to revive a failing brand is a very difficult job. There are no guarantees...all we can do is hope for the best.

If Sprint and RadioShack together can ignite the flames of growth in these retail stores, this could be very beneficial to both of them. However, they are not tied together. One can succeed and the other struggle.

Lucky for Sprint, the company's future does not depend on the success of these stores, but if successful, this will be a big shot in the arm for the wireless carrier.

On the other hand, RadioShack does depend on the success of these stores. Can they reinvigorate their tired, but well-known brand?

What will these stores look like in the next few quarters?

That is the big question. Weíll have to wait and see. Weíll also have to watch how Sprint advertises and markets their new and very large retail presence, what new plans they introduce into the competitive marketplace, and how successfully they compete in the wireless space.

I am looking forward to visiting several stores and writing about what I see and think about them. Letís hope we are all impressed with both the Sprint side and the RadioShack side. That would be the best scenario, since I would like to see them both succeed going forward.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

By    Jeff Kagan   +Follow          April 7, 2015 8:00AM  

Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com  

 


 

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/When-Internet-Speed-Kills-Reliability-81899.html

OPINION

When Internet Speed Kills Reliability

I've had an AT&T DSL connection to the Internet for years, and while it may be boring, it's always on. A faster connection doesn't necessarily make things any better. This illustrates how powerful advertising, marketing and public relations really are. We have been hearing for years that faster is better. We never hear about the problems when service goes down.

By Jeff Kagan

04/02/15 8:52 AM PT

What's more important when it comes to an Internet connection -- quality and reliability, or speed? This is a question I'm pondering as I sip a latte at Starbucks. I have come to the conclusion that while speed is sexy and sells, quality and reliability are more important. See if you agree.

Like countless others, I spend an hour or two every day working in Starbucks -- just me, my latte and my laptop. I have been doing this for enough years that I have become one of the mayors of the neighborhood coffee klatch.

Year after year, I connected to the Internet using the free AT&T service that Starbucks provided. I never had any complaints. It was always on, and it was always fast enough to surf the Web, check email, watch video clips, and listen to music.

Then Starbucks decided to dump AT&T and instead go with Google for high-speed Internet. Things started out pretty well. The speed was faster, and that was impressive.

Slower Service vs. No Service

However there is a problem that has become a real pain in the neck. The Google service doesn't work all the time. When it stops working, I'm stuck without a connection to the Internet.

I don't have to tell you -- losing your connection to the Internet can be very aggravating and even cost you business.

So speed is not everything. You would think so, listening to the commercials for Comcast and Google, but people prefer reliability to speed.

Comcast has a fast Internet connection as well. When it works, it's great. However, I often lose the connection in my home as well. I have to restart the modems and hope for the best. The vast majority of time, when both Comcast and Google go down, they stay down for a while.

It seems once or twice every year I have to unplug the modem, get in the car, drive to a Comcast store and wait in line to swap it out for a new one. Figuring out the problem often takes days.

That's the problem with speed vs. reliability.

Priority Check

I've had an AT&T DSL connection to the Internet for years, and while it may be boring, it's always on. A faster connection doesn't necessarily make things any better.

This illustrates how powerful advertising, marketing and public relations really are. We have been hearing for years that faster is better. We never hear about the problems when service goes down.

If you hear something enough times, you start to believe. Then reality comes back to slap you in the face.

Perhaps some day, every provider will offer speed and reliability. Until then, I prefer to stick with reliability.

Bottom line: When it comes to an Internet connection, the most important factors are connection, quality and reliability. After that comes speed.

Now, back to my latte.  

 

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, and consultant who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com