Kagan: Broadband turning into fight for market share

May 16, 2022
“There simply are not enough subscribers to accommodate the growth ambitions of each segment,” according to Kagan analysts.

The number of U.S. broadband subscriptions should exceed 122 million by the end of 2022, predicts analysts at Kagan, a media research group within the TMT offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence, in a recent blog. While this is good news on the surface for broadband services providers, Kagan points out that residential service penetrations in the U.S. exceed 90% of occupied households. That means share wars in the period to 2026, particularly as telcos, cable MSOs, overbuilders and others plan massive infrastructure deployments backed by government funding programs.

“There simply are not enough subscribers to accommodate the growth ambitions of each segment,” write the blog authors. Looking at those four segments – cable, telco, wireless, and satellite – Kagan notes that cable MSOs are well positioned to weather market share battles. The analysts expect cable operators to more or less hold steady, accounting for 69.2% of subscriptions in 2026. The same can’t be said for telcos; although many are replacing xDSL infrastructure with fiber to the premises, they aren’t doing it fast enough, according to the analysts. Telcos will see their market share continue to slip, shrinking past 25% by 2026, the analysts predict.

That loss won’t be due to satellite service providers, whom Kagan predicts will account for only 1% of subscriptions in 2026 due to what the blog authors described as “unfavorable cost and speed comparisons.” It’s wireless – including fixed wireless access – that will be a market share gainer. Kagan analysts expect wireless market share to grow from 8% to 12.6% by 2026.

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