How would you compare the current telecommunications landscape in Europe versus the United States?
If you look at Europe, there are significantly more providers in the space and therefore there is a higher focus on service and product innovation than in the US. This higher focus on product and service is driven by the low transition barriers and higher level of competition between providers — you are seeing connectivity move towards a true commodity. In Europe, we have seen a number of the traditional telco companies move into other spaces such broadband and sports streaming (BT) or move from broadcasting/streaming to telco (Sky). There has also been a drive to develop new brands, propositions and offerings to different segments for example Sky & Now TV/ Broadband, BT & EE combining fixed and mobile brands for 'unbreakable wifi’, while a lot of low cost MVNO players are targeting the value segment. The challenge for these is providing value and not having a race to the bottom, where the differentiation becomes on the device and not the provider.
Meanwhile, in the US, the landscape is primarily dominated by the main three providers, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. One thing that is not always as obvious to the standard consumer, however, is what is happening beneath the calm of the surface. There are many others in the space trying to break into the top tier - while the Big 3 have been able to maintain their positions, challengers to the incumbents in the form of foreign competition as well as cable providers moving into wireless pose new threats. In the US, there is also the consideration that major tech companies could pivot and look to becoming a provider themselves over partnering with providers to support their products. For example, Apple, who has set the bar high for devices, could in theory turn around and become their own provider disrupting the space and making a path for others to follow.