Monthly News Digest - May 2016

When given the choice between only being able to text or call on their mobile phones, a surprising 75 percent of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk versus text.

For Sale: Carrier assets

This month saw a lot of cash and equipment trading hands as major carriers such as Verizon and Sprint emptied their closets of unwanted stuff. 

Verizon completed the sale of its California, Florida, and Texas landline assets -- including broadband, voice, video, and Fios -- to Frontier Communications.

Sprint picked up some quick cash through a network gear sale and lease-back program, setting up a separate entity to sell a little over 2 billion dollars of network equipment and then lease it back to itself in a move to raise funds to meet upcoming debt maturities. The deal was expected to provide the company with $2.2 billion of funding and immediately improve the company's liquidity position at an attractive cost of capital in the mid-single digits. 

Birch Communications was on the buying end of things, snapping up select assets and customers of Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc., Canada's largest independent, full-service telecommunications and cloud service provider, serving more than 250,000 businesses and consumers across the country. The purchase extends Birch’s market from the U.S. into Canada, putting the company in a select group of providers that can serve customers across the U.S.-Canada border.  

Not their father’s phone company: millennials and mobile

More than any other generation, millennials (born 1982-1994) are changing the face of mobile telecommunications. Voice service is a non-starter for them. It’s all about data-rich content.

A new survey by OpenMarket reveals that millennials would rather lose the ability to call than text, calling texting more convenient and less disruptive. The nation-wide survey polled 500 millennials on their communication preferences and found that, when given the choice between only being able to text or call on their mobile phones, a surprising 75 percent of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk versus text. Survey respondents say texts are "more convenient" and on their own schedule (76 percent), texts are "less disruptive than a voice call" (63 percent), they "prefer to text vs. call" in general (53 percent) and because they "never check voicemails" (19 percent). 

Another report, this one by Rocket Fuel, indicates that connected device ownership is rising and millennial owners especially are more willing to share non-security and non-financial app information to receive more targeted advertising on their mobile devices. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reports that shorter, 10-second mobile ads resonate more among millennials while older adults 35-54 find 30-second ads more interesting. 

However, regardless of age, an Accenture Screenager reports finds that among surveyed smartphone users, the majority are unhappy with their service and ready to switch mobile providers. The study found that despite the widespread ownership and use of smartphones—with 80 percent of consumers surveyed now owning a device, up from 26 percent in 2012—the majority of smartphone owners are simply not happy with their mobile service experience in general. 

Where mobile subscribers are happy, though, is Canada. A new study by J.D. Power reveals that Canadian wireless customers use self-service online tools to resolve carrier problems and experience greater customer satisfaction. Wireless Canadian customers, notably millennials, are increasingly taking a hands-on approach to resolving issues with their carrier by contacting customer service online and using chat tools, a shift in customer care preferences that has helped improve satisfaction.

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