The US mobile service market
The US mobile phone service market is dominated by four players - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
2013 mobile service provider market share - source: Blue Field Strategies
Verizon and AT&T command 63% of the market together and have roughly 80% of the most valuable spectrum. The big players also have a history of buying spectrum licenses not to build new services, but to prevent competition.
Disruptive telecom options, and Republic Wireless
I find Verizon Wireless and AT&T's focus on restricting competition, instead of innovating in the consumer’s best interest, to be objectionable.
As I have learned more about the telecom and wireless market, I have endeavored to support disruptive companies and technologies. I was an early customer at GrandCentral, which became Google Voice. I’ve experimented with various voice over IP technologies and no-contract plans.
For the past year I have been a customer of Republic Wireless. Republic’s approach is to emphasis Wifi as the user’s primary connection and cellular as secondary (MVNO on the Sprint network). This allows them to offer some very low price points for no-contract plans.
The Defy is a basic Android 2.3 device that is somewhat limiting. The Moto X is a giant upgrade.
The combination of a cutting edge phone and no-contract unlimited plans from $5 to $40 is awesome. I’m glad to give my money to a company that is innovating. Republic seems to be getting good press, and I hope they can continue to disrupt the mobile service space.