Today, in Vegas at CES, we’re laying down New Rules for the Mobile Internet, and I'm laying out my predictions for 2017. I've never been shy about making big bets, and these are just some of the big changes I expect to see happen - and make happen - in the New Year.
Ready? Let’s go.
I’ve already said we’ll see a pack of new players move into wireless. In 2017, Big Cable will unleash their assault on wireless through their MVNO deals, and big surprise – customers won’t be satisfied. I predict Big Cable will have their asses handed to them and will be in full retreat from their MVNO strategy by end of year. After all, the last two letters in MVNO are “NO” – as in customers will say “NO, an MVNO strategy is just not good enough, Big Cable.” And for that reason, T-Mobile will say “NO” to MVNO deals with cable companies.
A Big Player Goes Big in Wireless
The future is mobile. So, if you had piles of cash laying around, where would you put it? Exactly! Will it be Facebook? Apple? Google? Amazon? I’m guessing Google. This could be the year they go for the mobile moonshot. I’ve said it before. The wireless industry’s going to change. I predict a MAJOR new player will jump in and shake up US wireless in a MAJOR way.
TV Goes Mobile
We’re in a golden age of TV. But how we watch is undergoing rapid, radical transformation. Linear TV may be in a death spiral, but TV isn’t dead. Over-the-top and other viewing options are on the rise. Twenty-five percent of US households have cut the cord. More than a third of TV viewing is happening on something other than a TV – and that’s > 50% if you look at people under 25 years old. Millennials are leading the way here, and the rest of the universe will catch up to them eventually! I predict the majority of TV viewing will be happening on mobile by end of year.
DISH is no longer DISH
Then there’s Dish. For years, the decline of linear TV and Dish’s stockpile of spectrum have fueled rumors that they were preparing to venture into wireless. But they’ve missed their window. I predict 2017 will mark the end of Dish as we know it. This time next year, they’ll no longer be a standalone entity. Dealer, next hand of cards, please. Thanks for playing, Charlie!
Gigabit LTE Speeds
While the other guys are still talking about getting to gigabit speeds on 5G, we’ve basically already hit near gigabit speeds on LTE in the lab. That’s right. We’ve already done it using our spectrum and advanced LTE tech—like MIMO, QAM and carrier aggregation. No one else can do this, because they simply haven't made the investments we have in advanced LTE technologies. I know T-Mobile customers will be first to experience gigabit LTE speeds, and we won’t be waiting for 5G to do it!
Slow Cooker Sunday Takes On Prime Cable
I’m hedging my bets, and while it’s not like Martha Stewart has anything to worry about, I predict that content built for OTT and mobile consumption – like my Slow Cooker Sunday – will KEEP passing cable channels in viewers. By years end, I predict my Slow Cooker Sunday, which already has over 500K weekly viewers, will pull in an audience of over 1 million. That’s more weekly viewers than MTV, BRAVO, Discovery, TBS, Comedy Central ---- and of course, the Food Network … in primetime during any given week!
The CEO Shuffle
With all the rumors swirling around wireless how can I leave this one alone? This time next year, the CEOs heading up wireless companies will not be the same four leading those companies today. Meade. Hesse. De La Vega. All long gone. It’s the next CEO shuffle! I predict three of the four current CEOs will be shuffled out this year. I’ll leave it at that!
Salvaging 90s dot coms hasn’t worked out so well for Verizon. And the head start they had on their network is basically gone. Comcast really needs a wireless play. The future looks a little rough for these two megacorps as their legacy businesses erode. They’re backed into a corner and will be forced to consider the unthinkable! I predict Verizon and Comcast will be forced to into discussions about combining two of the most hated brands in America. I mean, talk about synergies! If you thought Big Cable and the Big Carriers were overpriced and painful—the thought of a combination should send consumers running!
So there you have it. A few things to watch for during 2017 and beyond. And here's one thing you can count on. At T-Mobile, we're going to keep shaking things up, re-writing the rules and changing US wireless for good. That's not a prediction. That's a straight-up promise.