Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the U.S Mobile Network Providers market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The US Mobile Network market saw increased usage across 2020, with increased time spent at home driving up the demand for online services. The market is currently worth over $250 billion, with 1 in 10 adults already owning a smartphone. However, these numbers mean that revenue growth isn’t going to come from finding new customers, but rather keeping and upgrading existing clients.

With 5G becoming the new industry standard, a quarter of consumers are already upgrading to compatible devices. While competition from the main 3 networks will remain fierce, newer providers offering more flexible and affordable tariffs will create new challenges for the leading names.

4 out of 10 consumers are considering changing their provider, but most will not change as the majority have remained with the same provider for more than 5 years. However, the increasing reliance on wearable technology, wireless solutions, bundled entertainment services, and ecommerce will help to create further market opportunities.

Accelerated digital behaviours and drove interest in tech solutions. Wearable technology, fixed wireless home internet solutions, bundled entertainment services and ecommerce.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Technology and Telecoms market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer priorities and attitudes toward mobile networks.
  • Service and equipment segments’ contribution to total revenues and how the balance of spending continues to shift.
  • Which factors drive satisfaction with mobile network providers and areas to focus on for improvement.
  • How 5G smartphones and data speeds will play a critical role driving consumer demand.

Covered in this report

Plans: Single-line plan, mutli-line / family plan.

Brands: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verison (Samsung).

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Buddy Lo, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Mobile connectivity is considered an essential service and, while the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the amount of time people travel for leisure or commute to work, reliance on mobile connections has not diminished. In fact, for some it is their only digital connection; for others, it is an indispensable supplement to home internet.

Buddy Lo
Senior Technology and Consumer Electronics Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of mobile network providers, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on mobile network providers
      • Figure 2: Short, medium and long term impact of COVID-19 on digital services and mobile network providers, February 2021
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • Opportunities and Challenges
    • Family plan participation increases during COVID-19
      • Figure 3: Type of network plan, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Customer service, coverage and pricing drive satisfaction
      • Figure 4: Key drivers of satisfaction with mobile service provider – impact of factors, December 2020
    • 5G critical to future success, though some consumers need convincing
      • Figure 5: Attitudes toward mobile network providers – 5G, December 2020
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Mobile network revenue to remain stable through 2025
    • 5G upgrades should drive equipment sales for network providers
    • COVID-19 leads many young adults back to a family plan
    • Fixed wireless looks to play a role for delivering home internet
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Mobile network market value forecast to pace inflation
      • Figure 6: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of mobile network providers, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 7: Total US sales and forecast of mobile network providers, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on the mobile network industry
      • Figure 8: Short, medium and long term impact of COVID-19 on digital services and mobile network providers, February 2021
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • Learnings from the 2007-09 recession
      • Figure 9: Total US consumer expenditure on communications and technology at current prices, 2007-12
  5. Segment Performance

    • Services account for bulk of revenue, but losing ground to equipment
      • Figure 10: Total US sales and forecast of mobile network providers, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 11: Total US sales and forecast of mobile network providers, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Equipment should continue to drive growth
      • Figure 12: Sales and fan chart forecast of mobile network provider equipment, 2015-25
    • Smartphone ownership puts priority on data connection and speed
      • Figure 13: Sales and fan chart forecast of mobile network provider services, 2015-25
    • Cost of mobile network plans remaining stable
  6. Market Factors

    • New administration could bring net neutrality back into the conversation
    • DISH completes purchase of Boost Mobile
    • Broadband subsidies available from recent COVID-19 stimulus package
    • Wireless service essential despite the economic downturn from COVID-19
    • Increase in parent-child cohabitation increases family plan participation
      • Figure 14: Unemployment rate, by young adult age groups, January 2020-January 2021
    • Businesses look to 5G and connectivity for future transformation
    • Future success will hinge on 5G performance
      • Figure 15: Interest in 5G networks and 5G smartphones, December 2020
  7. Market Opportunities

    • 5G smartphone upgrades offer immediate hardware revenue
      • Figure 16: Verizon Samsung Galaxy 5G smartphone online promotion, January 2021
      • Figure 17: T-Mobile iPhone 12 online promotion, January 2021
      • Figure 18: AT&T iPhone 12 online promotion, January 2021
    • Home internet and wireless service bundles gaining steam
  8. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Verizon continues market-leading position with its strong coverage
    • T-Mobile and alternative carriers showing growth
    • Carriers are including 5G in standard data plans for consumers
  9. Market Share

    • Verizon continues to lead US wireless market
    • T-Mobile and smaller network providers showing growth
      • Figure 19: Mobile network providers, December 2020
  10. Competitive Strategies

    • Standardizing 5G mobile data plans will spur device purchases
    • Bundling promotions highly visible
    • Entertainment bundles
      • Figure 20: Verizon Start Unlimited email promotion, December 2020
      • Figure 21: T-Mobile acquisition email, December 2020
      • Figure 22: AT&T Wireless acquisition email, December 2020
    • Device bundles look to attract smartphone shoppers
      • Figure 23: T-Mobile free kids smart watch email promotion, March 2020
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Family plan participation increases in 2020
    • Merger between T-Mobile and Sprint leads to three major national carriers
    • Low churn rate among major providers
    • Mobile networks executing on key performance metrics for satisfaction
    • Four in 10 wireless consumers considering changing plans
    • Future success will rely on 5G
  12. Trends Drivers

    • Connection and cost shape consumer behavior in the mobile network category
      • Figure 24: Mintel Trend Drivers and supporting Pillars – Technology, Value
  13. Consumer Mobile Network Plans

    • Post-paid plans continue to account for the majority of the market
      • Figure 25: Breakdown of post-paid and prepaid wireless plans, January 2020 and December 2020
      • Figure 26: Pre- and post-paid plans, by household income, December 2020
    • COVID-19 spurs increase in family plan usage
      • Figure 27: Type of network plan – Single line vs family plans, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Family plan participation increases across all age and gender groups
      • Figure 28: Type of network plan, by gender and age, January 2020 and December 2020
      • Figure 29: Type of network plan, by gender and marital status, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Unlimited data plan participation increases
      • Figure 30: Mobile network data plans, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Family plan participation increases across both pre- and post-paid accounts
      • Figure 31: Type of network plan, by pre- and post-paid subscribers, January 2020
  14. Mobile Network Providers

    • T-Mobile loses some Sprint subscribers in merger
      • Figure 32: Mobile network providers, December 2020
      • Figure 33: Mobile network providers – Share, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Merger with Sprint shifts T-Mobile subscriber demographics
      • Figure 34: Breakdown of age, by mobile network providers, January 2020 and December 2020
      • Figure 35: Breakdown of race and Hispanic origin, by mobile network providers, January 2020 and December 2020
    • “Big 3” networks gained wealthier customer base over 2020
      • Figure 36: Breakdown of household income, by mobile network providers, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Family line participation increased across all network providers
      • Figure 37: Type of network plan, by mobile network providers, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Verizon and AT&T reduce gap in unlimited data plan participation
      • Figure 38: Breakdown of data plan types, by mobile network provider, January 2020 and December 2020
    • More than half have been with their carrier for more than five years
      • Figure 39: Length of service, by mobile network providers, December 2020
    • Majority of subscriptions happen in-store – but digital is growing
      • Figure 40: Mobile network sign-up method, December 2020
      • Figure 41: Mobile network sign-up method, by length of service, December 2020
  15. Mobile Network Satisfaction

    • Customers widely satisfied with their network providers
      • Figure 42: Overall mobile network satisfaction, December 2020
      • Figure 43: Mobile network satisfaction, December 2020
    • Customer service, coverage and pricing drive satisfaction
      • Figure 44: Key drivers of satisfaction with mobile service provider – impact of factors, December 2020
      • Figure 45: Key drivers of satisfaction with mobile service provider, December 2020
    • Methodology
    • T-Mobile absorbs dissatisfied Sprint customers
      • Figure 46: Overall network satisfaction, by mobile network provider, January 2020 and December 2020
      • Figure 47: Galaxy Note Sprint customer screenshot, January 2021
      • Figure 48: T-Mobile Sprint informational email, December 2020
    • Networks outside the “Big 3” win on pricing
      • Figure 49: Satisfaction with mobile network factors, by mobile network provider, December 2020
      • Figure 50: Satisfaction with mobile network factors, by mobile network provider, by plan type, December 2020
    • T-Mobile – Key drivers of satisfaction
      • Figure 51: Key drivers of satisfaction with T-Mobile, December 2020
    • Verizon – Key drivers of satisfaction
      • Figure 52: Key drivers of satisfaction with Verizon, December 2020
    • AT&T – Key drivers of satisfaction
      • Figure 53: Key drivers of satisfaction with AT&T, December 2020
  16. Interest in Changing Mobile Network Plans

    • Four in 10 wireless consumers considering changing plans
      • Figure 54: Interest in changing mobile network plans, December 2020
    • More T-Mobile customers considering a change at the end of 2020
      • Figure 55: Interest in changing mobile network plans, by mobile network provider, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Parents remain key target for networks in 2021
      • Figure 56: Interest in changing mobile network plans, by gender and presence of children in the household, December 2020
    • Black consumers most likely to consider a change to their mobile plan
      • Figure 57: Interest in changing mobile network plans, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
    • Reasons for changing carriers differ by age
      • Figure 58: Reasons for considering changing network providers, December 2020
      • Figure 59: Reasons for considering changing network providers, by age, December 2020
  17. Attitudes toward Mobile Network Providers

    • 5G critical to future success
      • Figure 60: Attitudes toward mobile network providers – 5G, December 2020
    • High-quality network management apps improve the customer experience
      • Figure 61: Attitudes toward mobile network providers – Network app, December 2020
    • Bundles are an attractive option for many mobile network users
      • Figure 62: Attitudes toward mobile network providers – Bundling and extra data plans, December 2020
    • Consumers unwilling to compromise on network performance
      • Figure 63: Attitudes toward mobile network providers – Network performance, December 2020
  18. Consumer Segmentation – Attitudes toward Mobile Network Providers

      • Figure 64: Consumer segmentation of attitudes toward mobile network providers, December 2020
    • Plan Explorers (25%)
    • Characteristics
      • Figure 65: Profile of Plan Explorers, December 2020
    • Opportunities
      • Figure 66: Attitudes toward mobile network providers, by consumer segments, December 2020
    • Irate Subscribers (33%)
    • Characteristics
      • Figure 67: Profile of Irate Subscribers, December 2020
    • Opportunities
      • Figure 68: Overall mobile network satisfaction, by consumer segments, December 2020
      • Figure 69: Reasons for considering changing mobile network providers, by consumer segments, December 2020
    • Digital Dynamos (21%)
    • Characteristics
      • Figure 70: Profile of Digital Dynamos, December 2020
    • Opportunities
      • Figure 71: Mobile network sign-up method, by consumer segments, December 2020
    • Network Loyalists (21%)
    • Characteristics
      • Figure 72: Profile of Network Loyalists, December 2020
    • Opportunities
      • Figure 73: Attitudes toward mobile network providers, by consumer segments, December 2020
  19. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  20. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 74: Total US retail sales and forecast of mobile network providers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 75: Total US retail sales of mobile network providers, by segment, at current prices, 2018 and 2020
  21. Appendix – Key Driver Analysis

    • Interpretation of results
      • Figure 76: Level of satisfaction with mobile service provider – Key driver output, December 2020
      • Figure 77: Level of satisfaction with AT&T – Key driver output, December 2020
      • Figure 78: Level of satisfaction with Verizon – Key driver output, December 2020
      • Figure 79: Level of satisfaction with T-Mobile – Key driver output, December 2020

About the report

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