|U.S.: Cable Clobbers DSL, U-Verse, FiOS|
|Tuesday, 04 May 2010 00:35|
Comcast added 399K new cable modem customers in Q1 to 16.329M. That's more adds than the total of AT&T (255K to 16,044K) combined with Verizon (90K to 9.3M). Time Warner was also far ahead of Verizon with 212K to 9,206K. John Hodulik of UBS estimates 67% of the Q! net adds will go to cable, a remarkable change from less than 50% a year ago. This is not because of DOCSIS 3.0, which at $99+ is not selling well,
Overall, cable added about 1M to over 40M. Telcos added about half a million to 33M. Add between 5% and 10% for the companies too small to appear in the chart below. While this could be the start of a precipitous decline, for now we might just be seeing the effect of price increases (Verizon, +12% in one key measure according to Bank of America) and the dramatic cut in U-Verse and now FiOS deployment.
My take is that the telcos would be damned fools not to hold more of the market so that femtocells/WiFi will provide them more robust and profitable wireless networks. Blair Levin came to a similar conclusion, that it's too early to claim cable is the inevitable winner. But Verizon cutting FiOS by 2-4M homes is exactly the kind of damned fool move that will hurt them in the long run. U.S. broadband is a two player game with many different possible strategies I can't predict.
These figures are drawn from Leichtman Research, UBS, and the companies. Note that Cox, Brighthouse and some of the Q1 figures for the smaller companies are estimates.