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Rethinking handset subsidies

Market report - 31/12/2015 Rethinking handset subsidies

What role do handsets play in telcos' strategies and in the value chain's evolution?

This report looks at how operators are grappling with the issue of handset subsidies
After providing a reminder of the main reasons these subsidies exist, we analyse how operators now facing growing competition and a changing value chain have redefined the role that handsets play in their strategies.
We will see how a paradigm shift has occurred in a matter of years, and how the status quo might evolve over the long term.



Reference Language Support Nbr of page Price  
M15535IN1 ukPDF 26 2000 euros excl. VAT order
M15535IN1frPDF 26 2000 euros excl. VAT order
1. Executive Summary

2. Methodology

3. Why subsidise?
 3.1. The device as consumption facilitator
 3.2. Supporting network development
 3.3. Subsidies, commitment and retention

4. A changing environment
 4.1. The smartphone: an increasingly heavy burden for operators
 4.2. The rise of no-contract plans
 4.3. Supplier emancipation + the rise of OTT = the end of walled gardens

5. Player strategies in a whole new world: what are the alternatives?
 5.1. Changing subsidy strategies
 5.1.1. Lengthening contractual periods
 5.1.2. Decreasing the size of subsidies
 5.1.3. Resetting priorities: churn, retention and super buyers
 5.2. Development of financing offers
 5.2.1. Different types of loan
 5.2.2. Handset leasing: the rise of "Device as a Service"
 5.2.3. Offering special rates on plans rather than subsidising the handset
 5.2.4. Case study: the United States
 5.3. New challenges for handset suppliers
 5.3.1. Impacting high-end products
 5.3.2. New (local) players emerging
 5.3.3. Revamping operator brand phones
 5.3.4. What impact will 5G have on subsidies?
Tables
Table 1: Regulatory status of SIM card locking in a selection of European countries
Table 2: Bouygues Telecom subsidies, as of December 2015
Table 3: Christmas 2015 specials from operators in France, by order of campaign dates

Figures
Figure 1: Comparison of subsidies vs. mobile service revenue for a selection of operators
Figure 2: Evolution of the value chain
Figure 3: Adoption rates for no-contract mobile plans in in France
Figure 4: China Mobile: maturing 4G handsets and a change in subsidies
Figure 5: Sprint: adapting financing to the customer's credit rating
Figure 6: Example of a leasing structure with outsourced leasing contract management
Figure 7: Cost of an iPhone 6s Plus with T-Mobile USA
Figure 8: Cost of an iPhone 6s with T-Mobile's JUMP! On Demand scheme
Figure 9: AT&T Next adoption rate and progress of handset revenue's share of total postpaid ARPU
Figure 10: Comparison of supply costs: ODM vs. OEM
Figure 11: Terminal small cells according to Chinese manufacturer Coolpad
3
A1
AT&T
Bell
Bouygues Telecom
China Mobile
China Telecom
China Unicom
HKT
KT
LG Uplus
Mtel
NTT DOCOMO
Rogers
SFR
Si.mobil
SK Telecom
Sprint
Starhub
Swisscom
Telus
T-Mobile (USA)
Verizon
Vip
Wiko
Wind
A changing environment
Player strategies in a whole new world: what are the alternatives?
Rethinking subsidies has impacted the handset market
Changing relationship between supplier, operator and end user
What impact will 5G have on subsidies?
See full list of publications related to Telecom Strategies



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